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Year of immigration

Codes and Frequencies

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YRIMMIG reports the year in which a person born outside the United States "came to the U.S. to stay."

User Note: There are significant comparability issues in this variable after 1991. Please see the Comparability section for details.


The earliest date identified in these data is "before 1950." Other codes cover a ten-year period (1950-1959), five-year periods between 1960 and 1979, two-year periods for the time between 1980 and 1991, and varying periods (of two years, three years, and four years) thereafter. The specific years grouped together for the period after 1991 differ over time. For example, the 2001 survey combined the years 1998 to 2001, while the 2002 survey provided separate codes for 1998-1999 and 2000-2002. Comparability across the survey period can be achieved by combining data on recent immigrants into a single "after 1991" classification and using the codes provided for the period between 1950 and 1991. Alternatively, the four-digit code can be interpreted as the latest year in which a respondent could possibly have immigrated, since the codes represent the final year in each interval.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

The wording of the CPS question is identical to that of the 1990 census: "When did this person come to the United States to stay?" In census 2000 and the ACS, the wording is slightly different: "When did this person come to live in the United States?" The CPS data were recoded into codes included in the 1990 census, but a number of new codes were added in IPUMS-CPS to accommodate groupings only available in the survey. The 1990 census and the CPS provide intervalled data for recent years, but the intervals are only partly comparable across the two sources. The 2000 census and the ACS collected information about the exact year of immigration, and data from these sources are given in single years for 1950 on. Researchers wishing to combine data from IPUMS-USA and IPUMS-CPS will have to recode some of the data into larger groupings to achieve comparability.


  • Foreign-born persons, and persons born in U.S. outlying areas.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1994 – 2017 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2018 X X - X X X - - - - - - -