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Inaccurate age and sex data in the Census PUMS files: evidence and implications

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  • J. Trent Alexander
  • Michael Davern
  • Betsey Stevenson

Abstract

We discover and document errors in public use microdata samples ("PUMS files") of the 2000 Census, the 2003-2006 American Community Survey, and the 2004-2009 Current Population Survey. For women and men ages 65 and older, age- and sex-specific population estimates generated from the PUMS files differ by as much as 15% from counts in published data tables. Moreover, an analysis of labor force participation and marriage rates suggests the PUMS samples are not representative of the population at individual ages for those ages 65 and over. PUMS files substantially underestimate labor force participation of those near retirement ages and overestimate labor force participation rates of those at older ages. These problems were an unintentional by-product of the misapplication of a newer generation of disclosure avoidance procedures carried out on the data. The resulting errors in the public use data could significantly impact studies of people ages 65 and older, particularly analyses of variables that are expected to change by age.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010-03.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2010-03

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Keywords: Census ; Population ; Labor supply;

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Cited by:
  1. David Neumark & Hans P. Johnson & Marisol Cuellar Mejia, 2011. "Future Skill Shortages in the U.S. Economy?," NBER Working Papers 17213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Neumark, David & Johnson, Hans & Mejia, Marisol Cuellar, 2013. "Future skill shortages in the U.S. economy?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 151-167.
  3. Negrusa, Brighita & Oreffice, Sonia, 2010. "Sexual Orientation and Household Savings: Do Homosexual Couples Save More?," IZA Discussion Papers 4961, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Venkataramani, Atheendar, 2011. "The Captain of the Men of Death and His Shadow: Long-Run Impacts of Early Life Pneumonia Exposure," IZA Discussion Papers 6041, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Bhalotra, Sonia & Venkataramani, Atheendar, 2011. "Is The Captain of the Men of Death Still At Play? Long-Run Impacts of Early Life Pneumonia Exposure during Sulfa Drug Revolution in America," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 10, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  6. Dr. Jörg Höhne & Julia Höninger, 2012. "Das Verfahren Morpheus – Auf dem Weg zu Remote Access," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 205, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
  7. Andy Sharma, 2011. "Selective Out-Migration from Florida," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 30(6), pages 817-838, December.
  8. Prada, Sergio I & Gonzalez, Claudia & Borton, Joshua & Fernandes-Huessy, Johannes & Holden, Craig & Hair, Elizabeth & Mulcahy, Tim, 2011. "Avoiding disclosure of individually identifiable health information: a literature review," MPRA Paper 35463, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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