2017 IPUMS Research Awards

IPUMS is excited to announce the winners of its annual IPUMS Research Awards. These awards honor the best published research and self-nominated graduate student papers from 2017 that used IPUMS data to advance or deepen our understanding of social and demographic processes.

IPUMS, developed by and housed at the University of Minnesota, is the world’s largest individual-level population database, providing harmonized data on people in the U.S. and around the world to researchers at no cost.

There are four award categories, each tied to the following IPUMS project:

  1. IPUMS USA, providing data from the U.S. decennial censuses, the American Community Survey, and the Current Population Survey from 1850 to the present.
  2. IPUMS International, providing harmonized data contributed by more than 100 international statistical office partners; it currently includes information on 500 million people in more than 200 censuses from around the world, from 1960 forward.
  3. IPUMS Health Surveys, which makes available the U.S. National Health Interview Survey and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.
  4. IPUMS Spatial, covering IPUMS NHGIS and IPUMS Terra. NHGIS includes GIS boundary files from 1790 to the present; Terra provides data on population and the environment from 1960 to the present. This award category was new in 2017.

Over 2,000 publications based on IPUMS data appeared in journals, magazines, and newspapers worldwide last year. From these publications and from self-nominated graduate student papers, the award committees selected the 2017 honorees.

IPUMS Health Surveys Research Awards:

Published Research Co-Winners (TIE):

Marcella Alsan and Marianna Wanamaker. “Tuskegee and the Health of Black Men.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 133(1): 407-455.

Alsan and Wanamaker’s innovative research combines 1969-1977 NHIS data with other data sources to estimate that the mistrust in the medical system fostered by the 1972 disclosure of the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male substantially decreased health care utilization by black men and accounted for large portions of the 1980 black-white life expectancy gap among men and the male-female gap among blacks.

Jessica Ho. “The Contribution of Drug Overdose to Educational Gradients in Life Expectancy in the United States, 1992-2011.” Demography 54(3): 1175-1202.

Ho used 1992-2011 linked NHIS-LMF data to investigate the contribution of drug overdose fatalities to the well-established educational gradient in mortality. While the years of life lost due to drug overdose increased for both men and women and across all educational levels, Ho found that they increased most for non-Hispanic whites aged 30-60, and that the increase was most rapid for women.

Student Research:

Monica King. “Under the Hood: Revealing Patterns of Motor Vehicle Fatalities in the United States.” University of Pennsylvania. Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 2396.

King leverages the linked NHIS mortality data in her dissertation to investigate the social determinants of the black-white disparity in a leading cause of death in the United States: motor vehicle accidents. She found that poverty, marriage, and education explain away the black disadvantage in motor vehicle fatalities.


IPUMS International Research Awards:

Published Research Co-Winners:

Joshua Wilde, Bénédicte H. Apouey, and Toni Jung. “The Effect of Ambient Temperature Shocks During Conception and Early Pregnancy on Later Life Outcomes.” European Economic Review 97: 87-2017.

Wilde, Apouey, and Jung combine IPUMS International census microdata with temperature data and supplemental health data to model the effects of temperature shocks during conception and early pregnancy on later life outcomes. They use individual level information on place and timing of birth as well as the fully harmonized geographic units and corresponding GIS shapefiles to take full advantage of their data on temperature shocks.

Student Research:

Zheli He.Trade and Real Wages of the Rich and Poor: Cross-region Evidence. Columbia University. Open Science Framework.

He combines data from multiple sources to examine the impact of trade liberalization on real wages of individuals by developing a framework that accounts for changes in nominal wages as well as changes in consumer price indices. Using the flexibility of IPUMS International microdata to fuel the supply side of the model, He is able to disaggregate effects on real wages for people at different wage levels. Findings contradict those of less robust models suggesting that real-wage inequality falls in all areas with trade liberalization.


IPUMS USA Research Awards:

Published Research Co-Winners:

Trevon Logan and John Parman. “The National Rise in Historical Segregation.” Journal of Economic History 77(1): 127-170.

Logan and Parman develop a much more subtle measure of segregation that was previously impossible and come up with results that contradict the trends and regional differentials that have been found using conventional measures.

Student Research:

Nathan Seltzer. “Beyond The Great Recession: Labor Market Polarization And Ongoing Fertility Decline In The United States. University of Wisconsin-Madison. SocArXiv.

The fertility boom that social scientists predicted would accompany the rebound following the 2007-2009 economic recession and housing crisis has yet to materialize. Seltzer’s paper makes innovative use of IPUMS USA data to examine how structural changes in industry composition have had a larger depressive impact on TFR than more volatile shifts in general unemployment.


IPUMS Spatial Research Awards:

Published Research Co-Winners:

Lara P. Clark, Dylan B. Millet, and Julian D. Marshall.Changes in Transportation-Related Air Pollution Exposures by Race-Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status: Outdoor Nitrogen Dioxide in the United States in 2000 and 2010.” Environmental Health Perspectives 125(9).

Combining annual nitrogen dioxide concentrations with NHGIS geographically standardized time series for census block groups from 2000-2010, Clark, Millet, and Marshall find persistent relative disparities in NO2 exposure between nonwhites and whites throughout the U.S., even while overall NO2 exposure and absolute disparities decreased.

Student Research:
Jacob Krimmel. “Persistence of Prejudice: Estimating the Long Term Effects of Redlining.” The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. SocArXiv.

Krimmel links historical credit risk zones with NHGIS tract data across seven censuses to demonstrate convincingly that black neighborhoods were disproportionately redlined and that redlined areas experienced declines in housing supply and population density beyond baseline expectations, providing striking evidence of the discriminatory costs of mid-century federal mortgage insurance policy.


Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted their work. Next year’s award process will open in November 2018. To see previous award winners, visit ipums.org/awardwinners.