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Data Files

International Data Explorer
You can explore the PIAAC data directly through NCES's online data tool — the International Data Explorer (IDE)

Overview

The U.S. PIAAC data include four household datasets: for the 2012 data, the combined 2012/2014 data, the 2017 data, and the combined 2012/2014/2017 data. The U.S. PIAAC data also include the PIAAC prison data from 2014. The U.S. PIAAC data contain additional variables that are unique to the United States, such as race/ethnicity and health variables. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides international data from the three rounds of PIAAC data collection that took place in 2012, 2015, and 2017.

The NCES International Data Explorer (IDE) contains the U.S. PIAAC data (the 2012/2014 and 2017 household data and the 2014 prison data), as well as data from the three rounds of international data collection (2012, 2015, and 2017).

Additional information about the U.S. and international datasets is provided in the following three sections.


U.S. Data Files and Data Resources

The U.S. PIAAC data—the 2012/14, 2017, and combined 2012/14/17 household data and the 2014 prison data—can be analyzed online through the International Data Explorer (IDE) or downloaded for statistical analysis from the links below. All U.S. data files are available for download in SPSS, SAS, or ASCII formats and come with documentation, such as codebooks and background compendia.

PIAAC U.S. Round Household Data Collection Public-Use
File (PUF)
Restricted-Use File (RUF) Technical Report Background Questionnaire (BQ)
3 2017 U.S. PIAAC Household Study 2017 U.S. PUF 2017 U.S. RUF U.S. PIAAC 2012/14/17 Technical Report English | Spanish
2 2012/2014 U.S. PIAAC Household Study (National Supplement) 2012/2014 U.S. PUF 2012/2014 U.S. RUF U.S. PIAAC 2012/2014 Main Study and National Supplement Technical Report English | Spanish
1 2012 U.S. PIAAC Household Study (Main Study) 2012 U.S. PUF 2012 U.S. RUF U.S. PIAAC 2012 Main Study Technical Report English | Spanish


Combined Household Data Collection Public-Use File (PUF) Restricted-Use File (RUF) Technical Report Background Questionnaire (BQ)
2012/2014/2017 U.S. PIAAC Household Study Not available 2012/2014/2017 Household RUF U.S. PIAAC 2012/14/17 Technical Report Refer to each data collection’s questionnaires


Prison Data Collection Public-Use File (PUF) Restricted-Use File (RUF) Technical Report Background Questionnaire (BQ)
2014 U.S. PIAAC Prison Study 2014 Prison PUF 2014 Prison RUF U.S. PIAAC 2012/2014 Main Study and National Supplement Technical Report English | Spanish

Note that some data in the public-use data files are suppressed due to confidentiality concerns for respondents. The unsuppressed data are available in the U.S. restricted-use data files, along with more detailed information, such as continuous age and earnings variables. For more information on the variable suppression and removal, see the Data User Guidance appendix in each technical report. To access the restricted-use data, researchers must apply for and obtain a restricted-use license from NCES. More information on the process is available at Restricted-Use Data Licenses.


U.S. Household State and County Estimates and Resources

Estimates of adults’ literacy and numeracy skills for all U.S. states and counties are accessible through an interactive mapping tool; the U.S. PIAAC Skills Map: State and County Indicators of Adult Literacy and Numeracy. These estimates are displayed through heat maps and summary card displays. The skills map also provides estimates of the precision of its indicators and facilitates statistical comparisons among states and counties. Additionally, the skills map gives users access to selected demographic variables from the 2013-2017 American Community Survey (ACS).

The state and county estimates are based on the combined 2012/2014/2017 PIAAC data and are produced using an advanced statistical method referred to as small area estimation (SAE). Additional resources and information on the skills map and the development of these estimates are available in the U.S. State and County Estimates page and the PIAAC State and County Estimation Methodology Report.

If you have any questions, please contact Holly Xie at holly.xie@ed.gov.


International Data Files and Data Resources

The international PIAAC data files can be found on the PIAAC Data and Tools page of the international OECD PIAAC website. Data files are available for 38 countries/economies1 that participated in PIAAC Cycle I, including Round 1 data from 2012, Round 2 data from 2015, and Round 3 data from 2017.2 The international data files can be downloaded in SAS, SPSS, or CSV formats. Additional resources on the PIAAC Data and Tools page include:

  • International codebooks
  • Data compendia for background variables and cognitive variables
  • Background questionnaires:
    • International Master Questionnaire
    • Country-specific background questionnaires
  • SAS and Stata macros and user guides
  • International PIAAC Technical Report

The PIAAC data can be analyzed in SPSS and SAS using a stand-alone program known as the International Database (IDB) Analyzer. Access the IDB Analyzer here.

1 The OECD does not provide public-use data files for Australia, Cyprus, and Indonesia.

2 The International U.S. 2012 and 2017 data files are available within the listing of country’s datasets identified with “_2012” and “_2017” in the file names, while the International U.S. 2012/2014 data file is available in the PIAAC Data >> Country Specific PUFs section of the OECD PIAAC page.


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