The Measurement of International Migration in U.S. Census Surveys: An Examination of Current Population Survey Data Matched to Social Security Administration Records
James D. Bachmeier, Temple University
Jennifer Van Hook, Pennsylvania State University
Bert Kestenbaum, U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)
This paper evaluates the measurement of international migration in U.S. Census surveys using data from the Current Population Survey linked to the Social Security Administration database. Results indicate that match rates vary as one would expect given existing knowledge about the unauthorized foreign-born population: match rates are significantly lower among Mexicans, recently arrived migrants, those of prime working age, and those lacking other survey indicators of legal residency status. The examination also finds variation in the consistency of survey responses with information in the administrative records across immigration related survey items. Specifically, among matched records, over 90 percent of survey responses for country or region of birth match the administrative data. However, consistent with previous research, there is much less consistency between the survey and administrative data with respect to year of arrival in the United States.