Adjust Monetary Values Feature

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to indicate the relative price of a set of goods and services across time in the United States. The CPI for all urban consumers (CPI-U) is the most widely used of price indexes. It is computed monthly based on expenditure patterns and annual average indexes represent the average over the 12 months of the calendar year. The CPI-U and additional information about consumer price indexes are available on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

IPUMS has selected the CPI-U as the default price index because of its widespread use and availability across a long time span, including the earliest available IPUMS CPS samples from 1962. We use CPI-U inflation values that are constant within years to compute adjusted monetary values. For this reason, availability of the Monetary Adjustment Feature for most recent IPUMS CPS samples is dependent on the annual release of CPI-U values from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This feature is not offered for unharmonized variables.

Missing data codes
In the adjusted version of a variable, the adjustment factor is only applied to codes that represent monetary values in the original variable, including top and bottom codes. Missing data codes (NIU, Refused, Don't Know, and No response) from the original variable are compressed into a single code consisting entirely of 9s in the adjusted version of the variable. This single missing data code is two digits wider than the missing codes in the original variable; the code is analogous to NIU for the adjusted variable.

Data availability
Because CPS data are released monthly and final CPI-U factors are released annually, we do not produce adjusted values for the current year. Extracts containing only samples from the current year are not eligible for monetary adjustment. If an extract includes samples from the current year and previous years that have variables eligible for monetary adjustment, the adjust monetary values feature will be an available option on the extract request page, but the adjusted variables for the current year samples will consist entirely of the adjusted variable NIU code.