Why are variable names different?


I just downloaded some 2012 5-year ACS data from ipums, and I noticed that the variable names are different in the dataset than in the Data Dictionary (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloa…). For example - the variable name in my data re: Units in structure is “unitsstr”, but the variable name in the data dictionary is “BLD”. Does anyone know why this is the case?



IPUMS-USA recodes most of the variables in the Public Use Microdata file distributed by the Census Bureau in order to harmonize the data for over time analysis. Thus, new variable names are assigned to emphasize the fact that the codes are different. When you create an IPUMS-USA extract a Codebook is created as well giving the variable names, definitions, and value labels associated with the data you extracted. You can find the uniquely created codebook on the same row as your extract in your Download and Revise Extracts area.

I hope this helps.