Wage variables include fringe benefits?

Consider the variables INCWAGE (in the IPUMS-CPS ASEC and IPUMS-USA data). In the IPUMS description of INCWAGE it is stated: “INCWAGE reports each respondent’s total pre-tax wage and salary income - that is, money received as an employee - for the previous year. […] Sources of income in INCWAGE include wages, salaries, commissions, cash bonuses, tips, and other money income received from an employer. Payments-in-kind or reimbursements for business expenses are not included.”

So, if I understand this correctly, INCWAGE does NOT include the employee’s contribution to an health insurance plan, nor it does include the employer’s contribution to an health insurance plan. Is that correct? The same is true for the employee’s and employer’s contributions to a retirement plan: correct?

I have the same questions also for the variables HOURWAGE and EARNWEEK in the IPUMS-CPS Outgoing Rotation Groups data. Are the employee’s and employer’s contributions to an health insurance plan and retirement plan included?

The IPUMS description of EARNWEEK just states that “EARNWEEK reports how much the respondent usually earned per week at their current job, before deductions” but it is not clear to me what deductions are included here.


Our understanding of the income questions is that they do not include the amount of money an employer contributes to health insurance or retirements. All questions (INCWAGE, EARNWEEK, HOURWAGE) are referring to the respodent’s gross income.