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CPS Microdata

CPS ASEC microdata are available for download to conduct your own analyses. Microdata are the original data records for each observation, although de-identified according to strict Census Bureau procedures. These data files tend to be very large, in raw format (usually ASCII flat file), and require analytic software to process files.

Federal data sources are usually available ready to load into SAS, Stata or SPSS.  If you use something else, convert it with StatTransfer software (available through Stata).

Where to download microdata:

Microdata are available directly through the Census Bureau or from a few third party data access sites. 

SHADAC recommends accessing public use microdata from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS).  IPUMS offers:

  • Harmonized variable names and labels over time, allowing for easier trend analyses.
  • The site is free and easy to use.
  • Users can download only what variables are needed, which can be a big time saver.
  • IPUMS is the only microdata source for SHADAC's enhanced weighting variable.
  • IPUMS typically Has CPS public use microdata ready within a week of the Census Bureau release (usually in September).

Data files can also be downloaded directly from the Census Bureau's Data Ferret page (note that the CPS ASEC is also referred to by it's old name, the March Supplement).