Respondent Heaping of the Counts of Lifetime Sex Partners, Males and Females, United States and China
Chris Cherry, Texas A&M University
Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University
Demographic analyses using survey data are only as good as the data themselves. This is especially important with regard to data dealing with sensitive and/or private issues, such as sexual activity. This paper is an evaluation of data on the number of self-reported lifetime sexual partners (LSPs). We use several datasets to examine the extent of “count heaping” of males and females self-reporting their number of LSPs. We find a definite tendency to heap counts of LSPs at digits ending in 0 and in 5. We develop a Whipple’s type measure of sex partner heaping and apply it to datasets from the U.S. and China to evaluate the amount of count heaping of opposite-sex and same-sex partners. We then suggest one way to correct the partner count data for heaping so they may be more reliably used as independent and dependent variables in demographic studies.
Presented in Poster Session 2