Women in the Workforce: Calibrating Census Microdata Against Gold Standards Mexico, 1990-2000

Gabriela Vsquez, Albert Esteve Pals, Rodolfo Gutierrez-Montes, Robert McCaa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Census microdata are becoming readily available for many countries, thanks to a new openness by statistical agencies and to various national, regional, and international integration projects. As the data become more usable, they must be calibrated, if they are to be used well. In the case of Mexican censuses, the female labor force participation rate is one of the most heavily criticized statistics of all. For more than two decades the published figures have been subjected to such withering criticism that few scholars dare use them. Microdata present the researcher with almost limitless analytical possibilitiesif they are not rejected out of hand. This paper compares the Mexican census microdata samples for 1990 and 2000 available from IPUMS-International against two gold standards: the national urban employment surveys (conducted quarterly since 1987) and the national employment surveys (begun in 1989 and conducted annually since 1995). From this preliminary analysis the 1990 and 2000 census microdata prove to be remarkably robust, so much so that calibration by experts would seem to be warranted. The 2000 census, thanks to the addition of a second question on activity is particularly successful in capturing secondary economic activity by homemakers, students, and unpaid family laborers. For the 2000 census microdata researchers are cautioned to apply weights (factor de ponderacin) supplied by the Mexican statistical office (INEGI) and included with the IPUMS-International microdata. INEGI statisticians used a stratified cluster design so that processing of a 10% sample (10 million person records) could be completed within 15 months of enumeration day.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2003
EventPopulation Association of American Annual Meeting - Minnesota, Minneapolis
Duration: May 1 2003May 3 2003


ConferencePopulation Association of American Annual Meeting


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