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Comparing Income Aggregates: How do the CPS and ACS Match the National Income and Product Accounts, 2007-2012

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Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2015-01

This paper compares income aggregates from Census survey data to administrative benchmarks from the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA). This is an update of work done by Coder and Scoon-Rogers (1996) and Roemer (2000) which compared NIPA aggregates to the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

This paper contributes to the literature by studying how the CPS ASEC and ACS survey estimates differ from the NIPA aggregates, which are based on administrative data, survey data, and imputations. This paper has three main aims. The first is to update work done by Coder and Scoon-Rogers (1996) and Roemer (2000) and therefore to facilitate comparisons between the results of these studies. In this way, changes over time in relationship between CPS ASEC and NIPA benchmarks will be apparent. The second is to understand how possible income misreporting affects aggregates in the ACS as well. Because the ACS is a newer survey, less work has been done to understand how ACS income reporting relates to administrative and other data benchmarks. A third goal is to explore some possible reasons that Census survey aggregates have changed relative to the NIPA benchmarks over time.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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