Years of us residency and age


I’m working with the 2021 5-year ACS and I just found that among the foreign-born population, for about 0.5% of the sample (over 200,000 individuals when weights are appiled), the years of U.S. residency (yrsusa1) is greater than the respondents’ age. Can you advise on how to treat these cases?

Thank you!


This is an artifact of the way these questions were asked. For age, the respondent is asked to give the current age in years (which would be the age at their last birthday). For years in the US, the question is as follows (see the questionnaire text section):

  1. When did this person come to live in the United States? If this person came to live in the United States more than once, print latest year.

The answer to this question is recorded in YRIMMIG. Then YRSUSA1 is calculated by subtracting the year of immigration from the current year. You can see that YRSUSA1 has the same source variable as YRIMMIG.

Suppose it is 2021 and the person came to the US in 2015. They will have YRSUSA1=6. Now suppose that person was born in May 2015, immigrated in September 2015, and are interviewed in January 2021. At the time of the interview, they will be only 5 years old.