Using the MEPS-HC to Study Change in Adult Mental Health

By Julia A. Rivera Drew and Natalie Del Ponte

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Household Component, or MEPS-HC, data are an invaluable resource for studying short-term trajectories in health, including adult mental health. An integrated series of the MEPS-HC data is available at IPUMS MEPS. Collected on the Self-Administered Questionnaire and, starting in 2019, the Preventive Self-Administered Questionnaire, the MEPS-HC includes two validated adult mental health scales. The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) and the two-item Patient Health Questionnaire depression screener (PHQ-2) are asked twice per panel, during interview rounds 2 and 4 (see Table 1). There are also two validated scales measuring health-related quality of life (HRQOL) that capture several interrelated health domains, including mental health. These include the Short Form-12 (SF-12) in 2000-2016 and the Veterans RAND-12 (VR-12) starting in 2017 (see Table 2 for VR-12 measures). For more information on the SF-12, see the section on SF-12 scoring on MCS and for more information on the VR-12, see ADDAYA.

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Introducing CPS-ASEC Longitudinal Extracts

By Renae Rodgers

The panel component of the Current Population Survey and new Longitudinal Extracts

Did you know that the Current Population Survey (CPS) – an important source of information on unemployment, poverty, and many other topics – has a panel component? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. The CPS rotation pattern is complex and can be difficult to work with. In fact, IPUMS CPS has held multi-day workshops intended to introduce researchers to the CPS panel component, help them understand the rotation pattern, and show some convenient IPUMS CPS features that make working with CPS panel data a little easier. If you’re completely new to the CPS panel, check out the materials from our latest workshop!

Maybe you did know about the CPS panel component, but looked at the complex rotation pattern, the Census Bureau guidelines and linking keys, and decided that this was for the birds. If this sounds like you, then our newest IPUMS CPS feature may be right for you! IPUMS CPS users can now download CPS-ASEC panels that contain two observations per person across a one-year period as longitudinal extracts. The rest of this blog post will explain what you are getting when you make a CPS-ASEC longitudinal extract and will walk you through how to create one for yourself.

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IHGIS Research Example: Fertilizer Use from Agricultural Census Data

By Chris M. Boyd

The IPUMS International Historical Geographic Information System (IHGIS) provides subnational data from agricultural and population and housing censuses from around the world. The agricultural census data cover a wide range of information on agricultural inputs, labor, production, and more, which can be used to explore a variety of research questions. IHGIS data can help understand, for instance, which factors contribute to better crop productivity, including the role of fertilizer use. Researchers have used agricultural census data at the subnational level to analyze the negative relationship between farm size and fertilizer overuse in China1; the relationship between maize yield, farm size and fertilizer and irrigation use in Mexico2; the use of chemical fertilizers in direct market farms in the U.S.3; and the environmental sustainability of using fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides in Pakistan4.

To date, IHGIS has released Agricultural Census tables for ten countries (see, including seven developing countries in Africa and the Pacific Islands. These seven datasets include information about fertilizer use, though each measures it in a different way (see Table 1). Despite the differences, these data can reveal broad patterns in the use of fertilizer by farmers among these countries.

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