September 28th

Interesting Points from Dr. Schmertmann's Census Bureau Advisory Cmte Meeting:

  • By law, no religion-based questions on any mandatory forms from the Census Bureau.
  • Examples of questions that are currently asked on voluntary surveys include: Has anyone prayed for your health in the last year? Do you send your children to Sunday school?
  • How should data collection on same sex marriage be handled?
    • Should it be inferred from combining relation to other household member and gender questions or should there be an explicit type of marriage question. (This would likely cause time series problems in the data.)
  • The 2020 Decennial Census will certainly have an online response option (in addition to mail-back), but that may not save the government any money, as much of the cost involved in a census is in non-response follow up

Analyzing PUMS data using the IPUMS online table software

For the rest of class we broke into four teams (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) and used PUMS data to complete an in-class worksheet consisting of three tables.

  1. Percent of males and females attending school by age, 10-24.
  2. Percent of divorced in the past year by age and race (white, black, and other)
  3. Percent of women giving birth in the past year, by age and by woman's place of birth (US, Mexico, anywhere else)

To complete this exercise we used 2008 ACS PUMS sample data from the online data analyzer, available at

Table one, for example, could then be filled out by using "age" in the row field, "school" in the column field, "sex" in the control field, "statefip()" in the filter field (state code in parenthesis), and clicking "row" under percentaging.