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Re: st: Individual IDs with non-numeric characters

From   Phil Schumm <>
Subject   Re: st: Individual IDs with non-numeric characters
Date   Mon, 2 Feb 2009 17:25:12 -0600

On Feb 2, 2009, at 4:58 PM, Benson Limann wrote:
The individual IDs in my dataset are in the string format. I currently use -destring- to make them numeric. But, unfortunately, some individual IDs have non-numeric characters. As a result, - destring- with the -force- option deletes all these individuals automatically.

Given that I want to sort all the observations, is it possible to keep these individuals with non-numeric IDs?

It's unclear what you're asking -- if some IDs have non-numeric characters that you want to preserve, then you have no choice but to leave the variable as a string. Why would you want to destring your ID variable anyway, given the headaches that a long numeric ID can cause (if not handled properly)? If the only reason is to facilitate the use of commands that require a numeric identifier (e.g., -xtset-), then this is easily addressed, e.g.:

egen panel = group(id)
xtset panel

-- Phil

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