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Introduction to PUMS: Public Use Microdata Sample - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Introduction to PUMS: Public Use Microdata Sample. Nanda Srinivasan, CTPP Staff Support. Presentation is based on material a. borrowed from Chuck Purvis MTC, Oakland, California b. PUMS 2000 DVD obtained from Census Bureau c. TechTalk Website:

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Introduction to PUMS:Public Use Microdata Sample

Nanda Srinivasan, CTPP Staff Support

Presentation is based on material

a. borrowed from Chuck Purvis

MTC, Oakland, California

b. PUMS 2000 DVD obtained from Census Bureau

c. TechTalk Website:, and

d. Cam McIntosh’s presentation at the Washington CTPP Workshop

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Introduction & Applications

  • What is PUMS?

  • PUMS Geographic Areas (PUMAs)

  • Top-Coding & Rounding Issues

  • Software to Analyze PUMS

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PUMS Basics

  • Microdata means that this in the actual individual record from a person/household

  • To ensure confidentiality, the geography of the person is hidden by using a large geographic reporting unit (PUMA).

  • PUMA is Public Use Microdata AREA. A PUMA must have a population of at least 100,000 persons.

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What is PUMS?

  • Public Use Microdata Sample

    • Individual, disaggregate census “long form” data

    • Geo-coded ONLY at the PUMA level to protect confidentiality of respondent

    • One-percent PUMS (National File)

    • Five-percent PUMS (State File)

    • Evolving program, with 100,000+ population PUMAs starting in 1990

    • 1990 5% PUMS for Bay Area: Data for 108,000 households and 292,000 persons

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PUMS Basics

  • 1% sample is a “National” file and all detail is included including all ancestry and age detail.

  • 5% sample are “state” files and some variables have been top-coded, or aggregated. For example, travel time to work often has a “top code” or maximum value of about 160 minutes. Time leaving home is aggregated (varies from 10 minute to larger aggregates depending on TOD).

  • About one-third of “long form” records are included in the 5% sample.

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What are PUMAs?

  • Public Use Microdata Areas

    • 5-percent sample PUMAs (100,000+ pop.)

    • 1-percent sample super-PUMAs (400,000+ pop.)

    • Defined by State Data Centers working with Regional Data Centers (MTC/ABAG) and others (UC Berkeley)

  • California PUMAs:

    • 62 super-PUMAs; 233 PUMAs

  • Bay Area PUMAs:

    • 12 super-PUMAs; 54 PUMAs

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California PUMAs (5%) andSuper-PUMAs (1%)

5-Percent PUMAs

1-Percent PUMAs

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Bay Area PUMAs (5%) and Super-PUMAs (1%)

5-Percent PUMAs

1-Percent PUMAs

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Top-Coding & Rounding (I)

  • Income Top-Coding, use statewide mean for highest income groups

  • Dollar Amounts (income, housing costs)

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Top-Coding & Rounding (II)

  • Age, top-coded at 90, persons are assigned statewide mean for persons age 90+

  • Race, Ethnicity, Ancestry

    • Nationwide minimum of 10,000 in group

  • Departure time from home-to-work

    • 5-minute rounding for 5:00-10:59 AM

    • 10-minute rounding for 3:00-4:59; 11:00-midnight

    • 30-minute rounding for midnight – 4:59

  • Travel times from home-to-work are rounded to nearest 5 minutes

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PUMS 2000 Features

  • Occupation based on Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)

  • Industry based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

  • Place of Work will be PUMA-of-Work

    • Super-PUMA to Super-PUMA commute flows in 1-percent PUMS

    • PUMA to PUMA commute flows in 5-percent PUMS

    • 1990 PUMS had PUMA-of-Residence to County-of-Work

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Software to Analyze PUMS

List of Commercial & Free Statistical Software, at

Also, check out for conversion utility.

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Where to Get PUMS?

  • Integrated PUMS Project (Univ. Minnesota)



  • University of Virginia’s GeoStat Program


  • Census Bureau PUMS Program


  • MTC / ABAG / State Data Center

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How to get a PUMS DVD

  • Get it FREE if you are a member of your State Data Center?

  • BUY it for $70 from the Census Bureau. 301-763-INFO (4636)