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st: standard deviations for survey data


From   "Holtzman, Deborah" <DHoltzman@air.org>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: standard deviations for survey data
Date   Thu, 6 Apr 2006 11:35:07 -0700

I am analyzing some survey data with relatively complex sampling
(2-stage, stratified cluster at the first stage; FPC at both stages). I
have svyset the data and am using svy: commands.

 I would like to get standard deviations as well as means for my
variables, as I would like to get a sense of spread as well as central
tendency. I have read the Stata FAQ "Why doesn't summarize accept
pweights? What does summarize calculate when you use aweights?" at:

http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/stat/supweight.html

 ...which addresses the issue (albeit from a different angle) and does
provide a way to get Stata to calculate a standard deviation following a
svy: mean command (di sqrt(e(N) * el(e(V_srs),1,1)), but contains the
following statement: "We probably don't care about an estimate of the
standard deviation of the population." I am troubled by this statement.
Why would we not care about an estimate of the standard deviation of the
population? Do I need to be cautious about how I interpret the standard
deviation produced by the di... command?
 
Thanks,
Deb

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