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Person's imputed total earnings, previous calendar year, point estimate


EARNIMPOINT2 is a six digit variable with no decimal places.

00: Not in Universe


EARNIMPOINT2 is a variable that includes imputed values to replace missing data for the original variable EARNINGS, a recoded variable reporting total personal earnings in the previous calendar year. The complementary imputation flag variable IMPEARNFLAG2 indicates whether responses in EARNIMPOINT2 were reported or imputed. Personal earnings (and family income) have been top-coded to the 95th percentile of the distribution for confidentiality purposes.

To increase the usability of NHIS income data, for 2009 forward, the NCHS released income dollar point estimates rather than categorized income dollar intervals. Users may also see EARNIMP2, the harmonized variable for 1997 forward which provides income dollar intervals.

Related Variables and Sources of Additional Information

EARNIMPOINT2 is the second of five variables that contain imputed values for personal earnings. It was created as part of a set of variables that provide complete (i.e., without missing values) data on family income.


One of the purposes of NHIS data is to study relationships between income and health and to monitor health and health care for persons at different income levels. However, as the technical documentation on "Multiple Imputation of Family Income and Personal Earnings in the National Health Interview Survey: Methods and Examples" describes, non-response rates are high for questions on total family income in the previous calendar year and personal earnings from employment in the previous calendar year. For more information on the imputation methodology, see EMPSTATIMP1.

Before using the imputed income and earnings variables, researchers are strongly advised to read the NCHS documentation on imputed income.


This includes such sources as 2018 Imputed Family/Personal Earnings Files. This documentation cautions that each of the five datasets must be merged with other data from the survey to form a single completed dataset. For IPUMS NHIS data users, the imputed income files have already been merged with other data from each survey year for 1997 through the current year of data, as part of the process of adding these imputed income files and variables to the IHIS database.

The NCHS documentation for the imputed income files directs that analysis of the five versions of each imputed income variable should be done separately, using methods and software that are appropriate for such survey data (for example, SAS-callable SUDAAN or SAS-callable IVEware).


Only then can estimates and standard errors be combined using the combining rules described in the aforementioned document on "Multiple Imputation of Family Income and Personal Earnings in the National Health Interview Survey." The 2018 imputed income file documentation further warns:

The extra variability due to imputation CANNOT be incorporated by simply analyzing a SINGLE completed data set as if the imputed values were true values. Moreover, analysts SHOULD NOT create a single completed data set using the AVERAGE of the five sets of imputed values.

Examples of correct data analyses and additional information about the procedures used to create the imputed data are provided in the technical documentation referred to above.


Other than changes to the top-code, based on the 95th percentile of the distribution, this variable is comparable.


  • 2009-2018: Persons age 18+ worked for pay last year, or whose employment status is imputed as employed for pay.


  • 2009-2018