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Recode: frequency drinking all types of milk, times per year


MILKYR is a 4-digit-numeric variable.

0: Never or less than 6 times per year
9995: 9995+
9996: Not in Universe
9997: Unknown-refused
9998: Unknown-not ascertained
9999: Unknown-don't know


For sample adults aged 18 and older, MILKYR is a recoded variable that reports the number of times the respondent consumed milk in one year. This recoded variable is based on the responses to questions about how often the respondent consumed milk; respondents could report the frequency per day, week, month, or year. This variable is constructed prior to 2000 by aggregating recoded variables that report how often the respondent drank whole milk, how often the respondent drank 2% milk, and how often the respondent drank 1%, ½%, skim, or buttermilk. Constructing MILKYR before 2000 allows researchers to compare milk consumption across more samples.

Researchers may wish to use MILKYR in conjunction with MILKTYPE, which is a recoded variable that reports the type of milk that the respondent usually consumed. For more information on how the aggregated values of MILKYR compare to those generated by the survey question, please see the Survey Text and Comparability tabs.

MILKYR is part of a series of variables initiated in 1987 related to food, food knowledge, and cancer.


Prior to 2000, respondents were asked to report the frequency with which they drank three different kinds of milk; beginning in 2000 respondents were instead asked about the frequency for milk consumption in general, and then asked about type of milk they typically consumed. The types of milk available as response categories differ across years. Whole milk and 2% milk are available as response categories in all samples. However, prior to 2000, skim milk, 1% milk, ½% milk, and buttermilk are all included in a single response category. In 2000, response categories include 1% milk, ½% milk, non-fat or skim milk, and "other" in addition to 2% and whole milk. Beginning in 2010, low-fat milk (including 1% and ½%) are condensed into a single response category; other categories include skim or non-fat milk, 2% or reduced-fat milk, whole milk, and other. Prior to 2000, persons were also asked not to include milk on cereal. Beginning in 2000, respondents were told to include milk on cereal, but not milk in coffee or tea.

Prior to 2000, respondents were asked about foods they usually ate in the past year. Beginning in 2000, this recall period was reduced to foods the respondent usually ate in the past month. The structure of the responses (recording number of times a food was consumed and the time unit associated with that frequency) makes it possible to compare response categories even with different recall periods.

Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. As always, data users should use the prescribed IPUMS NHIS weights.


  • 1987: Half of sample persons age 18+ (excluded from CACT supplement).
  • 1992: Half of sample persons age 18+ in quarters 1 and 2, and in 2 weeks of quarter 3 (excluded from CACT supplement).
  • 2000; 2010; 2015: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1987, 1992, 2000, 2010, 2015