For all persons, INCALIM reports all income received from alimony during the current calendar year. Using the reported income information, annual income amounts were then edited and imputed for every record on the full-year file. Please refer to the IPUMS user note on Income Data in MEPS for more information on the collection, editing (including top- and bottom-coding), and imputation of income variables in MEPS, as well as changes to the target population for income data collection over time. Users may also be interested in the data quality flag, QINCALIM, which reports the editing methods used for INCALIM.
If respondents needed more information about what kinds of income to report as alimony income, they were provided with the additional definition: Alimony is an "allowance that the court orders paid to a person by his/[her] spouse or former spouse after a legal separation or divorce or while legal action is pending."
Users may wish to note that, while IPUMS defines the universe for this variable as all persons, certain persons were explicitly targeted to answer questions about specific income sources. In addition to the target population of persons who were asked specifically about alimony income, all persons in the household were eligible to list additional income from "other" sources, which includes income from sources previously asked about in the survey (such as alimony income). It is unclear if alimony income reported as an "other" income source is counted in alimony income or "other" income. Because all persons could technically report alimony income via the "other" income questionnaire item, IPUMS staff report the universe for INCALIM as being "All Persons." Users may also wish to note that in the original public use MEPS data files, no income variables have cases explicitly coded as out of universe; both persons who directly report earning zero dollars of income from a source and persons who are not explicitly asked about that income source have values of zero.
INCALIM is an 8-digit numeric variable with 2 implied decimals. That is, a value of 01234567 should be interpreted as 12345.67. The command files delivered with IPUMS extracts automatically divide INCALIM by 100, so no further adjustment is needed.
999999.96: Not in Universe
999999.98: Unknown-not ascertained
999999.99: Unknown-don't know
While all persons could report alimony income regardless of age and tax filing status if they reported it as an "other" income source, certain persons were explicitly asked questions about alimony income. The persons specifically targeted to answer these questions changes over time, with an expansion of the target population beginning in 2002. For more information on how income data were collected by MEPS and changes to the target population for these questions over time, please see the IPUMS user note on Income Data in MEPS.
Beginning to 1999, persons could only report income in full dollar amounts. Prior to 1999, persons could report income in dollars and cents.
- 1996-2020: All persons.
- 1996-2020 : PERWEIGHT