SEER*Stat Case Listing Exercise 2: County Attributes

Case listing sessions are used to create tables showing the actual values stored in the database. They can be used to display county attribute data, which is available to SEER*Stat users as a stand-alone database in the case listing session.

Create a table showing percentages of county populations with less than a high school education for all US counties in 2000. Include the state and county name and 2000 percentage in the table.

Key Points and Reminders

  • This exercise illustrates the use of SEER*Stat to view county attributes such as race, age, housing, education, and employment from the US Census data at the county level.
  • When displaying data for individual counties, it may be necessary to use one and only one county per geographic unit. For example:
    • In New Mexico, Cibola County (35006) split from Valencia County (35061) in 1982. They are a combined unit until 1981, but are separate units from 1982 until the present. Since we will be using Census data for 2000 in this exercise and incidence and mortality data from 2007-2011 in Rate Exercises 5 and 6, we will want to use Cibola County and Valencia County as individual units.
    • SEER provides a system-supplied variable that removes all combined counties for 2011. The "Unique state-counties for 2011" variable was added as convenience for use in analyses of county attribute data. For more information on county changes over time, see http://seer.cancer.gov/popdata/methods.html.
  • We will use the results from this exercise to define cut-points for "% < High School Education" quintiles for all U.S. counties combined using 2000 census data. To be consistent in our analyses, we will use the same U.S. cut-points for the incidence and mortality rate exercises (Rate 5 and Rate 6).
  • Percentages in the county attributes have 2 implied decimal places (e.g. 00304 represents 3.04%). It is always a good practice to view the variable description for this type of information.
  • In the results matrix, you have the option to show the variables in a label format or switch to numeric codes (unformatted). If exporting the data for analysis in other software, unformatted variables may be preferable.
  • Educational attainment variables are calculated for percentage of the population 25 years and older.

Step 1:  Create a New Case Listing Session

  • Start SEER*Stat.
  • From the File menu select New > Case Listing Session or use the case listing button on the toolbar.

Step 2:  Select a Database (Data Tab)

  • It is extremely important that you select the database as the first step. The correct database must be selected in order to see the correct list of variables in selection statements, table statements, and the dictionary editor. In this problem, we need to select a database with county attribute data.
  • On the Data Tab select "County Attributes - Total U.S., 1969-2012 Counties "
  • When you select this database, a dialog will appear warning that the selected database contains data from several sources, and when necessary, values were created/modified to account for county changes over time. There is a link to the County Attributes Web page for more information.
  • Note that the warning has a checkbox labeled Do not show this message in future. You can mark this checkbox before clicking OK to prevent this warning from being displayed in future sessions. If you have done so in the past, it will not be displayed now.

Step 3:  Create the Selection Statement (Selection Tab)

This exercise and Rate Exercises 5 and 6 require the use of a complicated system-supplied variable. This variable is based on the standard "State/County" variable provided with the County Attributes database, but eliminates any geographic units that contain more than one county in 2011. The values for these units appear within the 'NA for 2011' grouping in the system-supplied variable.

  • Move to the Selection Tab, and then click Edit.
  • Using the controls at the top of the Case Selection window, you will create a selection statement.
  • In the Variable box, use the "+" to expand the "System-Supplied" category.
  • Select "Unique State-Counties for 2011".
  • Moving to the center of the window, select "is not = to" as the Operator.
  • Scroll through all the items in the Values box until you reach "N/A for 2011".
  • At this time, the following should appear in the Selection Statement box at the bottom of the window:

    {System-Supplied.Unique state-counties for 2011} != 'N/A for 2011'
  • Use the OK button to close the Case Selection window.

Step 4:  Set Table Variables (Table Tab)

Use the Table Tab to choose variables to include in the output matrix. The Problem Statement for this exercise specifies that the table should include the county name and percentage of the population with less than a high school diploma.

  • On the Table Tab, the variables are listed in categories in the Available Variables box at the bottom of the screen.
  • Use the "+" to expand the "State/County" category.
  • Select the variable, "State-county".
  • Click Column on the right hand side of the screen.
  • Use the "+" to expand the "County attributes 2000s" category.
  • Select the "% < high school education 2000".
  • Click Both on the right hand side of the screen.
  • At this time, the two variables should be listed as column variables, and "% < high school education 2000" should be listed as a sort variable at the top of the window.

Step 5:  Specify a Title (Output Tab)

  • Move to the Output Tab.
  • Enter the following title:
    Percent of Population ages 25+
    with less than high school education in 2000
    U.S. County Populations
    Case Listing Exercise 2

Step 6:  Execute SEER*Stat and Save the Matrix

  • At this point, you have all the necessary settings on the session tabs. Use the Execute button or select Execute from the Session menu to execute the session.
  • A new window will be opened containing the output table or matrix.
  • The percentage values appear in the results as 5-digit whole numbers. The last two digits are implied to be after the decimal point. So for Douglas County, Colorado, the value "00304" indicates that only 3.04% of the county's population, ages 25 years and over, have less than a high school education.
  • Results shown in the SEER*Stat matrix window cannot be edited. You can print the matrix, export the results to a text file, and copy-and-paste data into other applications. The Results Matrix section of the help system contains more information about the SEER*Stat matrix and its features.
  • Use the Save As command on the File menu to save the matrix. Enter "Case Listing Exercise 2" as the filename. SEER*Stat will assign the "slm" extension to indicate that this is a "SEER*Stat Listing Matrix" file.
  • Compare your results to this SEER*Stat matrix file: Case Listing Exercise 2 Results.

Step 7:  About the County Attributes Results Matrix

  • Your results should contain two columns: state-county and percentage of the county with less than a high school education in 2000.
  • The state-county values appear as formatted labels, which show the grouping label assigned to the value. In this case, the format is the "State Abbreviation: County Name (5-digit FIPS County Code)".
  • To display just the numeric code used by SEER*Stat for the values of a variable in the matrix:
    • Click on the column heading, "State-county", to select the entire column.
    • From the Matrix menu, select Display As and then "Unformatted".
    • For these results, the numeric value used by SEER*Stat is the FIPS County Code.

Step 8:  Using the Results in Other Software

Two methods can be used to take results from a SEER*Stat matrix and use them in another program:

  1. Copy data from the matrix to the Windows clipboard. In the other program, paste the contents of the clipboard to the work space. This technique would work well for programs that allow the pasting of data, including packages such as Excel and PowerPoint. More specific instructions are provided in the SEER*Stat help system.
  2. Export the data from the matrix to a delimited text file. Some programs, such as Excel, will allow you to open a delimited text file. In other programs, such as Joinpoint and DevCan, you must select the delimited text file as the input file. Please refer to Exporting Results in the SEER*Stat help system for instructions.