EDUC reports the highest level of schooling an individual had completed, in terms of completed grades for persons with less than a high school degree, and in terms of degrees attained for high school graduates and those with higher education. EDUC is available for all survey participants age 5 and older at the time of their first MEPS interview. It is an IPUMS MEPS constructed variable.
See Comparability section for more information on the construction of EDUC.
In addition to EDUC, there are several other educational attainment variables offered through MEPS. Unlike EDUC, these variables are not available for every MEPS year.
- EDUCYR: Years of education completed (available 1996-2011 and 2014 forward)
- HIDEG: Highest degree completed (available 1996-2011 and 2014 forward)
- EDUYRDG: Years of education and highest degree completed (available 2011-2015)
- EDRECODE: Years of education, recode (available 2011-2015)
Codes and Frequencies
Due to changes over time in which education variables AHRQ offered on the original MEPS files, there is significant variation in the education categories available across different survey years, and in how IPUMS staff constructed EDUC. For all years with the variables EDUCYR and HIDEG available, the two were combined to construct EDUC. For years where EDUCYR and HIDEG were not available, or were available only for a subset of participants, IPUMS staff used the variable EDUYRDG and, to a lesser extent, EDRECODE to construct EDUC in the cases that did not have values for EDUCYR and HIDEG.
Construction of EDUC prior to 2012
For participants who entered MEPS prior to 2012, IPUMS staff constructed EDUC using the MEPS variables EDUCYR and HIDEG.
Construction of EDUC for those entering the MEPS panel between 2012 and 2013
For participants entering MEPS for the first time in 2012 -- those in Panel 17 -- EDUC was constructed using the MEPS variable, EDUYRDG. This continued for survey participants in 2013, although with years prior to high school diploma grouped into "8th Grade or below" and "9-12th Grade, No Diploma" instead of being offered separately for each year of education. EDUCYR and HIDEG are not available for participants entering MEPS for the first time in 2012 or 2013 (with small exceptions, discussed in the next section).
Construction of EDUC for those entering the MEPS panel in 2014
EDUCYR and HIDEG were reintroduced in 2014, but only for participants in their second year of data collection who entered MEPS in Round 5 (Panel 18) and for those in their first year of data collection who entered MEPS in Rounds 3-5 (Panel 19). Though it was collected, HIDEG was not released on the public use file for any participants in 2014. However, another variable to bridge the differences between EDUYRDG and EDUCYR/HIDEG was offered, called EDRECODE. IPUMS staff used EDUCYR and EDRECODE to construct EDUC for those participants who had values in 2014, while EDUYRDG was used for the participants who did not have information for those variables.
Construction of EDUC in 2015 and later years
In 2015, HIDEG was again offered on the MEPS public use file. Beginning in 2015, EDUCYR and HIDEG were available for participants who were part of the MEPS panel that began in 2014 (Panel 19), but did not enter MEPS until Rounds 3-5, and for all MEPS participants entering in 2015 (Panel 20). IPUMS MEPS staff used EDUCYR and HIDEG to construct EDUC for these persons. EDUYRDG was used for participants in their second year of data collection who entered MEPS prior to Round 3 (Panel 19).
- 1996-2021: Persons age 5+.
- 1996-2021 : PERWEIGHT