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Using and Linking Files

Section I of the SIPP Users' Guide is written primarily for researchers who need information to guide their use of data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). It describes the design and content of SIPP and the processing of SIPP data by the Census Bureau. It also discusses weighting, sampling error, and nonsampling error.

Section II addresses the mechanics of using the SIPP public use files. The chapters in this section are written for the analyst needing guidance on how to accomplish a variety of common tasks. This section contains minimal discussion of underlying concepts (such as the relationship between waves, rotation groups, and reference months), which are examined in Section I.

There are five chapters in Section II: this chapter provides a general introduction to the public use files; one chapter is devoted to each of the three types of SIPP data files, and a final chapter discusses merging multiple SIPP data files. After reading the current chapter, the user working with just one type of SIPP data file may wish to turn to the chapter on that type of file. For the 1996 Panel, most variable names changed from those of previous panels. To aid users working with files from panels prior to 1996, the chapters in Section II present both the pre- and post- 1996 Panel variable names when the text applies to both 1996 and pre-1996 panel files (when the 1996 Panel names are available). In the main body of the text, the pre-1996 Panel names are presented in parentheses following those from the 1996 Panel. For example, the sample unit ID variable name in the core wave files, which is "SSUID" in the 1996 Panel, was SUID in previous panels. The variable name is written in this chapter as SSUID (SUID). In tables, a variety of methods are used to present both sets of names.

The balance of this section provides an overview of the sections that follow. Those sections offer more detailed discussions, complete with specific examples and samples of programming code. This introduction highlights points that are common to all SIPP data files. It also highlights important differences.

   SIPP Public Use Files
   Using the Core Wave Files
   Using Topical Module Files
   Using the Full Panel Longitudinal Research Files
   Linking Core Wave, Topical Module and Full Panel Files
   Analysis Example
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