When I attach spouse characteristics to AGEMARR and MARRNO, whose characteristics are attached?


#1

Hello,

I have been working with the age at first marriage variable (AGEMARR) in the 1970 decennial census and then tacking on attached characteristics (in particular, AGEMARR_SP) when I got to thinking – whose age at first marriage does AGEMARR_SP represent? For example, let’s say an individual gets married (to Spouse A), then divorced, and then remarried (to Spouse B) and is married to Spouse B at the time of the 1970 census. Will AGEMARR_SP represent the age at first marriage of Spouse A or Spouse B? My guess is Spouse B based on the “pointer” variable definition, but wanted to be sure.

In principle, my question also applies to MARRNO, WIDOW, and other variables documenting a feature of first marriage.

Thanks, in advance, for any help!

Best,

BD


#2

Your intuition is correct. The attached-characteristics feature uses the pointer variables to attach the value for another member in the current household. As a result, AGEMARR_SP refers to the age at first marriage of the respondent’s current spouse (i.e. the spouse residing in the same Census household). The same is true for attaching characteristics to any IPUMS variables, including MARRNO_SP, WIDOW_SP, etc.

Hope this helps.