Census Tract Measures

We have appended Census tract-level contextual data that correspond to the residence of respondents at Baseline and during the 1, 3, 5, 9, and 15-year follow-up waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). Variables consist of aggregate characteristics on individuals, families, households, and housing units within Census tracts. Contextual data for waves 1-5 correspond to the current residence of the biological mother and biological father at the wave(s) in which they were interviewed. Contextual data for Year 15 correspond to the current residence of the focal child’s primary caregiver (PCG) -- biological mother, biological father, other family, or other non-family caregivers.

Data are available pertaining to tract-level demographics, education, employment, housing, income, and public assistance. For more information, documentation for these data can be found here

Data are available using 2000 census-tract boundaries for Baseline and Years 1, 3, 5, 9, and 15. Data using the 2010 tract boundaries are available for Year 15.

IMPORTANT NOTE: To protect the privacy of respondents, the actual state, county, and Census tract of residence are not included in the current data appendage. However, it includes pseudo Census tract identifier variables (t*tract).  These variables do not represent actual U.S. Census tracts, but are used to indicate which respondents live in the same Census tract. The pseudo Census tract identifiers are consistent between mothers and fathers, and across waves and contextual data appendages for Baseline through Year 9. The variable, tp6tract_cen00 allows researchers to harmonize Year 15 pseudo tracts with 2000 census tract boundaries. Therefore, they can be used as an indicator of whether the families resided in the same Census tract from one survey wave to the next.

Due to the sampling design of the study, there is only a small to moderate amount of respondent clustering within census tracts at any given wave. The following table shows the number of respondents whose residence was determined and the number of unique tracts.


Number of respondents

Number of  unique census tracts

  Baseline 4725 2631
  Year 1 4261 2616
  Year 3 4078 2631
  Year 5 4095 2780
  Year 9 3539 2563
  Baseline 4069 2474
  Year 1 3614 2426
  Year 3 3268 2337
  Year 5 2988 2245
  Year 9 2625 2080
Primary Caregiver    
Year 15 3,544 2,720

If you have additional questions about this data, you can email ffdata@princeton.edu