What Is String Data Type in Stata?


Larry Thompson

The string data type is an essential concept in Stata, a statistical software package widely used by researchers and statisticians. Understanding the string data type is crucial for effectively managing and analyzing textual and alphanumeric data in Stata.

What is a String?

A string is a sequence of characters, such as letters, digits, symbols, or spaces. It could represent names, addresses, codes, or any other textual information.

In Stata, strings are enclosed in double quotation marks (“). For example:

“Hello World!”

Declaring String Variables

In Stata, we can declare variables to store string data using the string command. We need to specify the variable name and its maximum length. For instance:

string name 20

This declares a variable named ‘name’ that can store strings with a maximum length of 20 characters.

Assigning Values to String Variables

To assign a value to a string variable, we use the assignment operator (=). The assigned value must be enclosed within double quotation marks (“). Here’s an example:

gen name = “John”

Operations on String Variables

In Stata, we can perform various operations on string variables:

  • Length: The length() function returns the length of a string. For example:
    • display length(name)
  • Substrings: The substr() function extracts a specified substring from a string.

    For example:

    • gen first_initial = substr(name, 1, 1)
  • Concatenation: The (+) operator concatenates two or more strings. For example:
    • gen full_name = name + ” Doe”

String Functions

Stata provides various built-in string functions to manipulate and transform string variables:

  • lower(): Converts a string to lowercase.
  • upper(): Converts a string to uppercase.
  • strpos(): Returns the position of a substring within a string.
  • regexm(): Tests if a regular expression matches a string.

Merging String Variables

In Stata, we can merge multiple string variables into one using the concatenate operator (+). Here’s an example:

gen full_name = first_name + ” ” + last_name

Note on Missing Values

If a string variable does not have a value assigned to it, it is considered missing. Missing values are denoted by a dot (.) in Stata.

In Conclusion

The string data type in Stata allows us to efficiently handle textual and alphanumeric information. By understanding how to declare, assign values, perform operations, and use built-in functions on string variables, we can effectively manage and analyze text data in Stata.

I hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of the string data type in Stata!

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