Topcoding of Usual Hourly Earnings

The following information regarding topcodes for usual hourly earnings is adapted from section 2 of Unicon Corporation's Appendix H. This information is relevant to the IPUMS-CPS variable HOURWAGE and the unharmonized variable UH_ERNHR_1.

Both HOURWAGE and UH_ERNHR_1 will be topcoded based on an individual's usual hours worked (IPUMS-CPS variable UH_ERNUSH_1) variable, if the individual's edited usual weekly earnings variable is $999. The topcode is computed such that the product of usual hours times usual hourly earnings does not exceed an annualized wage of $100,000 ($1923.07 per week) in the years 1985-2002 and $150,000 ($2885.00 per week in the years 2003 forward. Below is a general algorithm than may be used to figure top codes as well as a table that lists the appropriate topcodes as specified by the Census.

For the years 1979-1984, the topcode is $99.99.

For the years 1985-2002, for usual hours worked <20, the topcode is $99.99, and for usual hours worked 20+, the topcode is $1923.07/(usual hours worked)

Table 1. Usual Hourly Earnings Topcodes 1985-2002
Hours Topcode Hours Topcode Hours Topcode Hours Topcode
1 None 26 $73.96 51 $37.70 76 $25.30
2 None 27 $71.22 52 $36.98 77 $24.97
3 None 28 $68.68 53 $36.28 78 $24.65
4 None 29 $66.31 54 $35.61 79 $24.34
5 None 30 $64.10 55 $34.96 80 $24.03
6 None 31 $62.03 56 $34.34 81 $23.74
7 None 32 $60.09 57 $33.73 82 $23.45
8 None 33 $58.27 58 $33.15 83 $23.16
9 None 34 $56.56 59 $32.59 84 $22.89
10 None 35 $54.94 60 $32.05 85 $22.62
11 None 36 $53.41 61 $31.52 86 $22.36
12 None 37 $51.97 62 $31.01 87 $22.10
13 None 38 $50.60 63 $30.52 88 $21.85
14 None 39 $49.30 64 $30.04 89 $21.60
15 None 40 $48.07 65 $29.58 90 $21.36
16 None 41 $46.90 66 $29.13 91 $21.13
17 None 42 $45.78 67 $28.70 92 $20.90
18 None 43 $44.72 68 $28.28 93 $20.67
19 None 44 $43.70 69 $27.87 94 $20.45
20 $96.15 45 $42.73 70 $27.47 95 $20.24
21 $91.57 46 $41.80 71 $27.08 96 $20.03
22 $87.41 47 $40.91 72 $26.70 97 $19.82
23 $83.61 48 $40.06 73 $26.34 98 $19.62
24 $80.12 49 $39.24 74 $25.98 99 $19.42
25 $76.92 50 $38.46 75 $25.64

For the years 2003 forward, for usual hours worked <29, the topcode is $99.99, and for usual hours worked 29+, the topcode is $2885.07/(usual hours worked)

Table 2. Usual Hourly Earnings Topcodes, 2003+
Hours Topcode Hours Topcode Hours Topcode Hours Topcode
1 None 26 None 51 $56.57 76 $37.96
2 None 27 None 52 $55.48 77 $37.47
3 None 28 None 53 $54.43 78 $36.99
4 None 29 $99.48 54 $53.43 79 $36.52
5 None 30 $96.17 55 $52.45 80 $36.06
6 None 31 $93.06 56 $51.52 81 $35.62
7 None 32 $90.16 57 $50.61 82 $35.18
8 None 33 $87.42 58 $49.74 83 $34.76
9 None 34 $84.85 59 $48.90 84 $34.35
10 None 35 $82.43 60 $48.08 85 $33.94
11 None 36 $80.14 61 $47.30 86 $33.55
12 None 37 $77.97 62 $46.53 87 $33.16
13 None 38 $75.92 63 $45.79 88 $32.78
14 None 39 $73.97 64 $45.08 89 $32.42
15 None 40 $72.13 65 $44.38 90 $32.06
16 None 41 $70.37 66 $43.71 91 $31.70
17 None 42 $68.69 67 $43.06 92 $31.36
18 None 43 $67.09 68 $42.43 93 $31.02
19 None 44 $65.57 69 $41.81 94 $30.69
20 None 45 $64.11 70 $41.21 95 $30.37
21 None 46 $62.72 71 $40.63 96 $30.05
22 None 47 $61.38 72 $40.07 97 $29.74
23 None 48 $60.10 73 $39.52 98 $29.44
24 None 49 $58.88 74 $38.99 99 $29.14
25 None 50 $57.70 75 $38.47

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