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.
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
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.
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