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Current Population Survey, March/April 1986: Match File: Alimony and Child Support (ICPSR 4376)

Alternate Title:   CPS, March/April 1986

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census; United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics


This data collection is comprised of responses from the March and April installments of the 1986 Current Population Survey (CPS). Both the March and April surveys used two sets of questions, the basic CPS and a separate supplement for each month.

The CPS, administered monthly, is a labor force survey providing current estimates of the economic status and activities of the population of the United States. Specifically, the CPS provides estimates of total employment (both farm and nonfarm), nonfarm self-employed persons, domestics, and unpaid helpers in nonfarm family enterprises, wage and salaried employees, and estimates of total unemployment.

In addition to the basic CPS questions, respondents were asked supplemental questions in March about income. About 42,200 of the housing units interviewed in March were interviewed again in April. In these housing units all women 18 years of age and older who had children were asked the April CPS supplemental questions. These questions concerned child support and alimony payments. Of the 43,091 women found eligible in March, 37,671 of them matched women interviewed in April. For the remaining 5,420 women interviewed in March, the child support and alimony information was imputed.

Information regarding child support and alimony was collected to determine the size and distribution of the female population with children affected by divorce or separation. Moreover, the data were collected to better understand the characteristics of persons requiring child support and alimony, and to help develop and maintain programs designed to assist in obtaining child support. These data highlight alimony and child support arrangements made at the time of separation or divorce, amount of payments actually received, and value and type of any property settlement.

This collection also contains data covering nine noncash income sources: food stamps, school lunch program, employer-provided group health insurance, employer-provided pension plan, personal health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS), and energy assistance. Demographic variables include age, sex, race, marital status, veteran status, educational attainment, occupation, and income. Data on employment and income refer to the preceding year, although other demographic data refer to the time at which the survey was administered.

Series: Current Population Survey Series

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


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Study Description


U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, and U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. CURRENT POPULATION SURVEY, MARCH/APRIL 1986: MATCH FILE: ALIMONY AND CHILD SUPPORT. ICPSR04376-v1. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census [producer], 1988. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-03-20. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04376.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04376.v1

Export Citation:

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  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    alimony, census data, child support, compensation, demographic characteristics, economic conditions, employee benefits, employment, energy assistance, full-time employment, health insurance, Hispanic origins, household composition, households, income, industry, labor (work), labor force, Medicaid, Medicare, part-time employment, pensions, population characteristics, wages and salaries, work, working experience, working hours

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1985-03--1986-04

Date of Collection:   

  • 1986-03--1986-04

Unit of Observation:    household, family, individual

Universe:    The civilian noninstitutional population of the United States living in housing units, as well as members of the Armed Forces living in civilian housing units on a military base or in a household not on a military base.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) These data are distributed exactly as they arrived from the data depositor. ICPSR has not checked or processed the data. Users should contact the principal investigators if further information is desired. (2) In this hierarchical dataset, there are three record types: Household, with approximately 65 variables, Family, with approximately 80 variables, and Person, with approximately 230 variables. (3) The technical documentation inaccurately states that there are 203,135 records. There are 200,029 records in the data file. (4) The file is sorted by Census state code, then by SMSA rank code. (5) Users are strongly encouraged to read the User Guide, which contains the questionnaires for the supplements and additional technical documentation.


Sample:    A multistage probability sample was used for the housing unit.

Weight:    For all CPS data files, a single weight was prepared and used to compute the monthly labor force status estimates. An additional weight was prepared to roughly correspond to wage and salary workers. The difference in content of the March CPS supplement required the presentation of a household weight, a family weight, and a March supplement weight. Users are strongly encouraged to refer to the user guide for additional information concerning the weights used in this collection.

Mode of Data Collection:    telephone interview


Original ICPSR Release:   2008-03-20


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