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Wage and salary income


99999999 = N.I.U. (Not in Universe)
99999998 = Missing (1962-1966 only)

The Census Bureau applies different disclosure avoidance measures across time for individuals with high income in this variable. Detailed explanations of these methods, topcodes, and replacement value and swap value thresholds are available here.


INCWAGE indicates each respondent's total pre-tax wage and salary income--that is, money received as an employee--for the previous calendar year. Amounts are expressed as they were reported to the interviewer; users must adjust for inflation using Consumer Price Index adjustment factors.

For ASEC samples 1988-onward, INCWAGE is derived from a Census recode variable. The topcoded components of INCWAGE are OINCWAGE and INCLONGJ. OINCWAGE is always a component of INCWAGE. When SRCEARN indicates that INCLONGJ is earned from wage and salary, INCLONGJ is an additional component of INCWAGE.


Along with the effects of inflation and changes in the variable universe, INCWAGE may be affected by changes in question wording.

For 1962-1968, interviewers asked how much the individual earned in wages and salary. For 1969-1979, the survey asked about wages or salary before any deductions. For later years, respondents were prompted to include overtime pay, tips, bonuses, and commissions from their primary employer, as well as money from other employers.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

INCWAGE is basically comparable in IPUMS-USA and IPUMS-CPS. Income data were collected from persons age 14+ in the 1960 and 1970 censuses and from persons age 14+ in the CPS from 1962-1979. The 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses had a lower age limit of 16 for INCWAGE, versus age 15 in the CPS beginning in 1980. The wording of census questions on income from wages was somewhat more detailed than the comparable question in the CPS during the early years of the survey. For the 1960 enumeration and all subsequent censuses, the census form specified income before deductions and mentioned commissions and tips as well as wages and salary. For more detail about the wording of the census questions, users should consult the IPUMS-USA documentation.


  • 1962-1963: Persons age 14+ who were not in rotation groups 4 or 8.
  • 1964-1979: Persons age 14+.
  • 1980-2018: Persons age 15+.
  • 2019-2023 ASEC: Persons age 15+ who worked and had earnings in the last year.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1962 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -