Challenges in Mapping the Past: the Example of Administrative Boundaries in Nicaragua in 1971

Boundaries change frequently, and one has to account for that when comparing data across time. This blog post explains how IPUMS-I approaches the task of mapping historical boundaries.

Overview

  • IPUMS International disseminates census microdata for Nicaragua in 1971, 1995 & 2005.
  • Data are available for departments (primary administrative unit) and municipalities (second administrative unit).
  • Boundary maps from the most recent census are readily available, but older maps like those from the 1971 need to be constructed. Due to numerous boundary changes, it is not always possible to recreate older administrative divisions based on the most current map—sometimes we have to look further in the past.

According to the 1971 Census of Nicaragua, the country was divided at that time into 127 municipalities. However, there was no map for 1971 and the maps available for 1995 and 2005 showed 145 and 154 municipalities, respectively—not 127, as in 1971. We had to identify what changes had occurred in the administrative division of Nicaragua during the 1971 to 1995 period and recreate a map that matched the 1971 census microdata.

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IPUMS FAQs: Why is the 2014 sample twice as large as the total population?

At IPUMS we try to address every user’s questions and suggestions about our data. It is just one feature that adds value to IPUMS data. Over time, many questions are often repeated. In this blog series, we will be sharing some of these frequently asked questions. Maybe you’ll learn something, or perhaps you’ll just find these interesting. Regardless, we hope you enjoy.

Here’s one of those questions:

Why is the 2014 sample twice as large as the total population?

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Dissemination Through Swag

Swag: slang for free merchandise distributed as part of the promotion of a product, company, etc.

Promotional merchandising of census data products has been in use in the United States since the first decennial census of population.  Don’t you wish you had one of these?!


The Minnesota Population Center has distributed swag in a variety of contexts to promote its products and reward data users.  

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