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st: -destring- and missing values


From   "Jeph Herrin" <stata@spandrel.net>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: -destring- and missing values
Date   Wed, 2 Oct 2013 12:07:26 -0400

All, 

I have hundreds of variables that look like this:

. d q1

              storage   display    value
variable name   type    format     label      variable label
-------------------------------------------------------------
q1               str2    %2s  

. tab q1, m

        q1  |      Freq.     Percent        Cum.
------------+-----------------------------------
            |          2        0.89        0.89
         1  |        216       96.00       96.89
         2  |          7        3.11      100.00
------------+-----------------------------------
      Total |        225      100.00

but when I try to use -destring-

. destring q1, replace
q1  contains nonnumeric characters; no replace

According to the documentation, 

    destring treats both empty strings "" and "." as indicating sysmiss
(.)...
    destring also ignores any leading or trailing spaces so that, for
example, 
    " " is equivalent to "" and " . " is equivalent to ".".

Why is -destring- not converting my variables to numeric? I think I must be
missing something very obvious.

I can get around this by 

 replace q1 = "." if mi(q1)

but I don't think I should have to.


J





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