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st: String Variable With Probable Extra Space, Problems with Trim


From   J Taylor <jwtayl@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: String Variable With Probable Extra Space, Problems with Trim
Date   Wed, 2 Jun 2010 10:52:41 -0700

I have a variable of US state names that include what I think are some
extra spaces at the front and at the end of the variable value.
Instead of "California", I think the variable is "  California  ".  I
received the dataset in Excel and then saved it as a .csv file with
Excel 2007.

I say 'I think' above because I'm not 100% sure if there might be some
character that I can't see that is not a space.

I try using
gen state1 = trim(state)

but state1 continues to have "  California  " as a value instead of
"California."  This is super-weird, and I apologize I cannot provide
information about what is going on.

Might there be another way (other than trim) to extract the state name
so that there are no spaces?  I could look for a continuous group of
letter characters, but this may face disadvantages for the two word
states, e.g. "New Hampshire."  Any other suggestions about fixing this
problem?

Thanks,
JT
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