FAQ for SCF Combined Extract Data

These FAQs apply specifically to the SDA version of the SCF Extract Datafile. For the more general FAQ file provided by the Federal Reserve for the SCF datasets see the FAQs on the Web site of the Federal Reserve System.

Note in particular the question there about why some numbers in the various Federal Reserve Bulletin articles may not match exactly the results obtained from the public datasets.

NOTE: All values in the Extract SDA dataset are in 2019 dollars

  1. How do I calculate medians or percentiles?

    In order to calculate Medians or single specified Percentiles in SDA, a user should click on the 'Analysis' button, then click on the 'Means' tab. In the form that appears, the user should enter the name of the variable of interest into the 'Dependent:' text box. Also enter the name of a break variable into the 'Row:' text box. (You can also enter another break variable into the 'Column:' text box, but that is optional.)

    In the 'Median/Percentile Options' section, select either 'Median' or 'Percentile' from the drop-down list. If you select 'Percentile', you can select the single percentile value that you want to see in each cell (the default is the 90th percentile of the dependent variable). You can also specify that the chart be based on the median or percentile, instead of on the mean of the dependent variable.

    Then click the 'Run the Table' button. In the table that is created, the median or percentile of the dependent variable will appear as the first statistic in each cell.

  2. Are all values real?

    Yes. All values are real values. They are in the most current survey's dollars.
  3. How do I get the nominal values?

    Multiply the variable you want to put in nominal terms by the CPI_DEFL variable, and save it as a new varible. This new variable will now be in nominal terms.
  4. Does upper/lower case matter for the names of variables?

    In the SCF dataset, the names of variables are case insensitive. This means that NETWORTH, networth, and Networth all refer to the same variable.

  5. How do I get results for a single survey year?

    To get results for a single survey year, enter 'YEAR(*year*)' into the 'Selection Filter(s):' text box. So, if you wanted to get results for 2004, enter 'YEAR(2004)' into the 'Selection Filter(s):' text box.

  6. How do I get combined results for a group of survey years?

    To get combined results for multiple survey years, enter 'YEAR(*years*)' into the 'Selection Filter(s):' text box.

    So, if you wanted to get results for 2001 through 2007, enter 'YEAR(2001-2007)' into the 'Selection Filter(s):' text box.

    You can also filter for discrete years. For example: 'YEAR(1992,1998,2001)'.

  7. How do I get separate results (means and medians/percentiles) for multiple years?

    You get separate results for years by entering YEAR into either the 'Row' or 'Column' text boxes, as you prefer.

    For example: Say you want to calculate mean (and median or percentile) real net worth by age group for each of the survey years 2001 to 2007. To get those results, do the following:

  8. Where can I get more information about the options?

    For more information about any specific feature in SDA, click the related question mark ('?') in the form. For example, for information on entering selection filter(s), click on the question mark after the 'Selection Filter(s):' label in the form. Alternatively, you can click on the 'General' help hyperlink at the top of the form, or the 'FAQ' link at the top of the page.

  9. How were the extract variables created from the survey data?

    The program used to create the extract variables from the survey data may be viewed here.