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School loss days in past two weeks

Codes and Frequencies

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SLDAY2WK reports the number of days (from 0 to 14) that illness or injury kept a person (age 6 to 16 years in 1968-1981, and age 5 to 17 years in 1982-1996) from school during the preceding two weeks. Interviewers showed respondents a hand calendar with the relevant two weeks, beginning with a Monday and ending with a Sunday, outlined in red.

Related Variables 

In 1997 forward, SLDAYR reports the number of days that illness or injury kept sample children age 5-17 from school during the past 12 months.

The comparable variable measuring the effects of illness or injury on adults during the preceding two weeks is WLDAY2WK, Work loss days. Other variables providing insight into the effects of illness or injury in the preceding two weeks are RADAY2WK, Restricted activity days, and BDDAY2WK, Bed disability days.


Along with a change in the universe, the question wording for SLDAY2WK changed in 1982.


The question wording of SLDAY2WK asked how many days during the previous two weeks "did illness or injury keep [person] from school?"
Unlike 1968-1981, the question wording of SLDAY2WK in 1982-1996 did not ask simply about days missed from school. The question was more specific in the referenced time period. Those who affirmatively answered the question, "During those 2 weeks, did [person] miss any time from school because of illness or injury?" were then asked how many days during the previous two weeks the person missed "more than half the day from school because of illness or injury." Whereas the earlier (1968-1981) wording may have led respondents to report only days in which sick children did not go to school at all, the later wording explicitly defines days when children attended school for less than half the day due to illness as school loss days.

Because of these changes, researchers should exercise caution in comparing results for SLDAY2WK before and after 1982.

In the original public use files, a value of 00 (none) was given for very young children and for adults, who were not questioned about school absenteeism. The IPUMS NHIS version of this variable moves these age groups into the NIU category for SLDAY2WK.


  • 1969-1981: Persons age 6 to 16.
  • 1982-1996: Persons age 5 to 17.


  • 1969-1996