How Well Can We Track Cohabitation Using the SIPP? A Consideration of Direct and Inferred Measures
Cohabitation is an alternative to marriage and to living independently for an increasing number of Americans. Despite this fact, research exploring links between living arrangements and economic behavior is limited by a lack of data that explicitly identify cohabiting couples. To aid researchers in using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) rich data for cohabitation issues, our paper considers direct and inferred measures of cohabitation. Our findings suggest that: (1) the best inferred measures in pre-1966 SIPP depends upon a researcher's goals, and (2) the SIPP counts a larger number of cohabiting couples than the widely used CPS.
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