There have been several notable changes to the files starting with Version 0.9.8. First, we now use the raw CPS March data as the sole source of our extract starting in 2014. We still use Unicon’s extract as the underlying source for our extract from 1980-2013.
In addition, the 2014 March CPS included redesigned health insurance and income questions. All of the addresses received the redesigned health insurance questions. However, the income questions were fielded using a split panel design, where 5/8ths of the sample (approximately 68,000 addresses) were given the same income questions as the previous year, while 3/8ths (approximately 30,000 addresses) were part of the “Research File” and were given redesigned income questions. Those who were asked the redesigned income questions gave responses that were significantly different from those who were given the original questions. Therefore, the Census Bureau urges researchers not to combine the two files.
We provide the files separately here. There is a regular CPS March 2014 file (cps_march_2014.zip) that is based on the 5/8ths sample with original income questions– this is what the Census Bureau has used for their normal publications on income and poverty. We also have available the 3/8ths or Research File (cepr_march_2014_research.zip) that has the redesigned income questions.
We recommend that you use the 5/8ths sample with original income questions for your publications.
For more on these changes, and the Census Bureau’s recommendations on how to handle the data, please see here.