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ASEC User Note: Revised: Reason for Move Write-In Expansion

Component ID: #ti1483856070

This is a revised version of a user note originally published in 2016. Please refer to the following information about the reason for move write-in expansion, which includes some updates and corrections since the original user note.

As of the 2018 ASEC, the reason for move recoding expansion had only been used for migration research purposes by Census Bureau staff. While the expansion was intended to be implemented in the resulting migration data and public data products as of 2016, this did not happen. As of data year 2019, the expansion will be implemented.

Related guidance for data users will be similar to the guidance in this user note, initially issued for data year 2016.

More information is available in the CPS-ASEC Geographic Mobility User Notes.

Comparison Guidance for Reason for Moving Data as of Data Year 2019:

Data users should be cautious when comparing 2019 reason for move estimates with reason for move estimates from earlier years, especially for “other family reason,” “other job-related reason,” “other housing reason,” and “other reason.” The reason for move question and edit did not change; however, cases were able to be recoded from these categories into different reasons. For “other family,” “other job-related,” and “other housing,” this was not possible before the write-in expansion. For example, if a mover selected “other housing” and provided a write-in of “wanted cheaper housing,” then their response could be recoded to the “wanted cheaper housing” reason in 2019. Before 2019, the write-in information for movers who selected “other housing” was not recoded, meaning the response would have remained in “other housing.” Additionally, after the expansion, reasons could be recoded into “other reasons,” another first for the survey.

Revised Information for Reason for Moving Data as of Data Year 2016:

In the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey, anyone who moved within the last year is asked for his or her main reason for moving. (Those living with the householder one year ago are counted together.) Movers were provided with a list of 19 common reasons, four of which are “other family reason,” “other job-related reason,” “other housing reason,” and “other reason.” These catch-all categories are purposely generic, which limits their analytical usefulness.

Before 2016, only movers who selected “other reason” were asked to provide their specific reason for move through a write-in response. Beginning with the 2016 ASEC, respondents who selected “other family reason,” “other job-related reason,” and “other housing reason” were also sent to the write-in screen for additional information. With this additional information, Census Bureau staff were able to learn why movers selected these catch-all categories.

For example, before 2016, the write-in information for movers who selected “other housing” was not collected, meaning that a mover who would have written in “wanted cheaper housing” would not have been able to provide this information.

Comparison Guidance:

Data users should be aware of how the write-in expansion changed the reason for move data collection process as of 2016. In the data collection instrument, additions were made to the text of three reason for moving categories and write-in screens were added following these three categories. However, these changes to the data collection process are not expected to have affected the reason for moving estimates for 2016 and later in appreciable ways. (However, see notes above about the 2019 implementation of the expanded recodes.)

As of 2016, the “other family reason,” “other job-related reason,” and “other housing reason” categories have the text “(specify)” appended, in addition to the “other reason” category. The data collection instrument sent “other family reason,” “other job-related reason,” and “other housing reason” responses to write-in screens, in addition to “other reason.”

The reason for move question and edit did not change with the 2016 write-in expansion.

Please see the CPS-ASEC Geographic Mobility User Notes for more information about other changes and potential issues related to the reason for moving data.

For additional information on the write-in expansion or reason for move data in general, visit these resources:

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