Current Population Survey, 2004: Cell Phone Supplement (ICPSR 4347)

Published: Dec 21, 2011

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


Version V2

This data collection is comprised of responses from two sets of survey questionnaires, the basic Current Population Survey (CPS) and a supplemental survey on the topic of cell phone use in the United States, which was primarily administered in February 2004. An additional sample of respondents was given the supplemental survey with the November 2004 CPS.

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. The CPS is conducted in approximately 56,000-57,000 households.

The Cell Phone supplement contained household-level questions and provides data about household use of regular landline telephones and household use of cell phones. Respondents were specifically asked about the amount of cell phone usage, the number of landlines in the home, the different uses for the landlines (e.g., for computer lines or fax machines), how many members of the household had a working cell phone number, how many cell phones each member of the household had, whether the cell phones were answered by more than one household member, and the number of the calls the household received via cell phone.

Demographic variables include age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, veteran status, educational attainment, occupation, and income.

United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census, and United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Current Population Survey, 2004: Cell Phone Supplement. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-12-21.

Export Citation:

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Users are strongly encouraged to refer to the User Guide (produced by the Principal Investigators), which contains not only information about the basic monthly CPS, but also detailed technical documentation specific to the Cell Phone Supplement. In particular, Attachment 8 of the User Guide contains the supplement questionnaire.

ICPSR removed all FILLER and PADDING variables from the data. As a result, the column locations in any ICPSR-released data product (e.g., codebook and setup files) will have column locations that are not consistent with locations described in the User Guide.

The universe statements for each variable are defined in either the basic or supplement record layout, which are located in Attachments 6 and 7, respectively, of the User Guide.

The CPS uses a multistage probability sample based on the results of the decennial Census files, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. When files from the most recent Decennial Census become available, the Census Bureau gradually introduces a new sample design for the CPS.

In the first stage of the sampling process, the United States was divided into 2,007 primary sampling units (PSUs), which correspond to substate areas, counties, or groups of counties that are geographically contiguous. The PSUs were grouped into 754 strata, and one PSU was selected for sample from each stratum, with its probability of selection proportional to its population as of the most recent decennial census. This PSU represents the entire stratum from which it was selected. In the case of strata consisting of only one PSU, the PSU is chosen with certainty.

Approximately 73,000 housing units were selected for sample from the mixed sampling frame in February 2004. Based on eligibility criteria, 11 percent of these housing units were sent directly to Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). The remaining units were assigned to interviewers for Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI). Of all housing units in sample, about 60,000 were determined to be eligible for interview. Interviewers obtained interviews at about 56,000 of these units. Noninterviews occurred when the occupants were not found at home after repeated calls or were unavailable for some other reason.

Respondents were only eligible to receive the supplemental cell phone survey if they had both a landline and a cell phone.

Users are strongly encouraged to refer to the User Guide for additional information on sample redesign and estimation procedures.

The universe for the basic CPS consists of all persons aged 15 and older in the civilian noninstitutional population of the United States living in households. The Cell Phone Use supplement universe included households: (1) where at least one person completed the basic CPS, (2) that contained a landline phone and cell phone in the household, (3) that were not a replacement household in the sample, and (4) whose month-in-sample rotation groups were 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7.

For the basic CPS questions, the unit of observation was individuals within housing units, and for the Cell Phone supplement households were the unit of observation.

survey data



2011-12-21 The ASCII data for this collection have been completely replaced. The data collection has been updated to include SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files for use with the new data. Also included in the update are a corresponding SAS transport (CPORT) file, SPSS system file, Stata system file, and a tab-delimited version of the new ASCII data.

The data contain one weight variable, HWSUPWGT (Cell Phone Supplement Weight), which should be used for tallying households in the file. Users are advised to refer to the User Guide for additional information about using the weight variable.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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This study is provided by Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).