2008 American Community Survey / Puerto Rican Community Survey Data

The 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) and Puerto Rican Community Survey (PRCS) contain many important changes from previous ACS/PRCS releases. (General information on the ACS and PRCS can be found here.) As always, we encourage users who notice changes to the ACS not reflected in the IPUMS data to email ipums@umn.edu. For a full description of changes to the ACS/PRCS questionnaire, including changes to question wording and order, see this document. Users may also want to familiarize themselves with the likely substantive impacts of these changes by examining the Census Bureau's documentation.

Items Newly Available

Items With More Detail

Concept Old Name New Name Flag Name
Vision or hearing difficulty DIFFEYE DIFFSENS QDIFSENS
Vision difficulty (2008 and beyond only) --------- DIFFEYE QDIFEYE
Hearing difficulty (2008 and beyond only) --------- DIFFHEAR QDIFHEAR
Cognitive difficulty DIFFREM DIFFREM QDIFREM
Independent living difficulty DISABMOB DIFFMOB QDIFMOB

Items Removed Or With Less Detail


UPDATE: The 2008 IPUMS ACS/PRCS data were re-posted on Friday, November 6, after the Census Bureau released new data. HHINCOME, FTOTINC, INCTOT, and INCEARN are now available, and POVERTY is constructed exactly as in previous samples.

Any 2008 PUMS files downloaded from the Census Bureau's website between October 30 and November 3, 2009 have incorrect data for the four income summary variables with the Census Bureau names of FINCP, HINCP, PERNP, and PINCP. DataFerrett data may still be flawed; users should check for a high number of negative values before using any DataFerrett data.

The original note posted on November 4 follows:

Please note that we are not providing certain variables at this point due to apparent errors in the original Census Bureau data files. The affected variables are HINCP (IPUMS equivalent = HHINCOME), FINCP (FTOTINC), PINCP (INCTOT), and PERNP (INCEARN). Briefly, there were unexplained discrepancies in the structure of the various data files released by the Census Bureau. The comma-delimited ASCII files contained only a 3-character code in scientific notation for each of these four income variables, resulting in only 1 real number of income data. For instance, a household income of $33,200 would show up as "3E4" in these variables. The SAS files contained many unexplained blank values for these variables. The data downloaded directly from DataFerrett replaced these blanks with the stated bottom-code value from the data dictionary (-$59,999 for HINCP and FINCP, -$10,000 for PERNP, and -$19,999 for PINCP), resulting in many more bottom-coded incomes than were present in other years.

The Census Bureau released updated data files over the night of Tuesday, November 3. While the revised variables could not be integrated in time for the planned November 4 release, IPUMS will provide them by Friday, November 6. Until then, users can make substitutes by summing income components within individuals (to obtain INCTOT and INCEARN), then summing within families and households (to obtain FTOTINC and HHINCOME). The resulting variables will differ slightly from those in previous samples because of Census Bureau topcoding, but they will be accurate in most cases.

The IPUMS variable POVERTY is constructed using FTOTINC, and so it cannot yet be calculated as in other samples. We have provided it just as the Census Bureau released it; preliminary inspection suggests that it was unaffected by the data problems. The IPUMS updated version of POVERTY will also be released on November 6; it will change only for nonrelatives of the householder whom the IPUMS codes as being in an unrelated subfamily. See the variable description for more information.

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