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Comparisons of MINT 2003 and 2004 Projections with Survey Data

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Document date: December 01, 2008
Released online: March 19, 2009

Abstract

This report compares projections of income and assets from the Model of Income in the Near Term (MINT) with data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), and the Current Population Survey (CPS). The comparison reveals a fair amount of variability in population characteristics and reported income and assets among these data files. There is no "right" answer, but rather a range of possible answers. For most statistics we compare, MINT's projected values fall between the highest and lowest values among the survey data.


Executive Summary

Overview

This report compares projections from the Social Security Administration's Model of Income in the Near Term (MINT) of income data for 2003 and wealth data for 2004 for individuals born from 1926 to 1941 with observed data for those two years from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), and the Current Population Survey (CPS). The report also documents the patterns of differences between MINT projections and the survey data.

The comparison reveals a fair amount of variability in population characteristics and reported income and assets among these data files. There is no "right" answer for many variables, but rather a range of possible answers. For most statistics we compare, MINT's projected values fall between the highest and lowest values among the survey data. There are no obvious egregious errors in the MINT projections based on the comparisons in this report. The analysis does suggest, however, that some changes in MINT could improve the accuracy of its projections.

Overall Population and Population Characteristics

The aggregate size of the United States resident, non-institutionalized population born from 1926 to 1941 is slightly smaller in MINT than in the SIPP, CPS, and HRS, but larger than in the SCF. The shares of the population in MINT by age, marital status, race and ethnicity, and education are all between the highest and lowest values among the included survey data. The population differences between MINT and the survey data are small (1.3 percent compared to the 2004 SIPP, 5.2 percent compared to the 2004 CPS) and are not clearly attributable to different population projections for any specific subgroup.

There are sizeable differences in the population distribution by education level in the survey data that are only partly explained by differences in education category groupings among our sample survey questionnaires. There are also sizable differences in the immigrant share of the population across surveys that are only partly explained by sample design. These population differences affect differences in the income and asset distributions across samples, as discussed below.

MINT projects that virtually all individuals born from 1926 to 1941 or their spouses will have some income in 2003 and some assets in 2004. Average projected total income for these cohorts in 2003 is $25,173, and average net worth in 2004 is $325,823. MINT's distributions of income and assets among subgroups of the population show the same general patterns as do survey data. Both MINT projections and the survey data show higher income and assets among non-Hispanic Whites and among higher educated, married, and younger individuals (among those age 62 to 77) than for other racial and ethnic groups and less educated, single, and older individuals. MINT's projections of income and assets for different population subgroups generally fall between the highest and lowest values among the comparison data sources.

(End of excerpt. The entire report is available in pdf format.



Topics/Tags: | Economy/Taxes | Employment | Retirement and Older Americans


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