IPUMS Announces 2020 Research Award Recipients

IPUMS research awardsIPUMS is excited to announce the winners of its annual IPUMS Research Awards. These awards honor the best-published research and nominated graduate student papers from 2020 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 six award categories, and each is tied to the following IPUMS projects:

  • IPUMS USA, providing data from the U.S. decennial censuses, the American Community Survey, and IPUMS CPS from 1850 to the present.
  • 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.
  • IPUMS Health Surveys, which makes available the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
  • 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.
  • IPUMS Global Health: providing harmonized data from the Demographic and Health Surveys and the Performance Monitoring and Accountability surveys, for low and middle-income countries from the 1980s to the present.
  • IPUMS Time Use, providing time diary data from the U.S. and around the world from 1965 to the present.

Over 2,500 publications based on IPUMS data appeared in journals, magazines, and newspapers worldwide last year. From these publications and from nominated graduate student papers, the award committees selected the 2020 honorees.

IPUMS USA Research Award Winners:

Published Research Paper:

Natasha V. Pilkauskas, Mariana Amorim, and Rachel E. Dunifon

Historical Trends in Children Living in Multigenerational Households in the United States: 1870–2018

Using decennial census and ACS data from IPUMS-USA, this paper traces long-run trends and differentials in the frequency of children residing in multigenerational families, defined as residing with both a parent and a grandparent. The frequency of such multigenerational families increased from 1870 to 1940 owing to demographic change, then declined sharply until 1980. In recent decades, multigenerational families among children have been rising, and they are now almost as common as they were at the peak in the mid-twentieth century. The authors demonstrate that racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic differences in multigenerational living arrangements expanded greatly over the course of the past 150 years.

Student Research:

Ian Lundberg

Occupational segregation contributes to racial disparities in health: A gap-closing perspective

Lundberg uses linked IPUMS CPS data to document the impact of occupational segregation on race disparities in work-related disabilities. The analysis concludes that about a third of the race difference in disabilities would disappear if Blacks and Whites shared the same occupational distribution.

IPUMS International Research Award Winners:

Published Research:

Valerie Mueller, Clark Gray, and Douglas Hopping

Climate-Induced migration and unemployment in middle-income Africa

Mueller, Clark, and Hopping study the effects of climate anomalies on migration activity over a 22-year period in three African countries: Botswana, Kenya, and Zambia. The study combines detailed individual characteristics (subnational migration, employment, and demographic information) of 4 million individuals from IPUMS International censuses with high-resolution gridded climate data from the Climate Research Unit’s (CRU) Time Series. The harmonized microdata facilitate comparative work across the three middle-income, rapidly urbanizing countries with relatively high internal migration rates. Microdata also enable the authors to examine how labor market conditions influence migration responses to climate by analyzing the direction of relationships between migration and climate versus employment and climate. Climate anomalies affect mobility in all three countries, but do so in ways that are context-specific and often related to unemployment, inactivity, and demand for labor. Findings are consistent with other research that has found climate migration processes to vary widely across countries and extend prior research by leveraging comparable cross-country data on migration and employment available through IPUMS. Given the differing effects of climate on migration by country context and mechanism, the research does not support claims that climate change drives urbanization in Africa.

Student Research:

Raoul van Maarseveen

The Effect of Urban Migration on Educational Attainment: Evidence from AfricaUrbanization and Education in Africa

Using census data from 14 African countries, Van Maarseveen assesses the effect of childhood exposure to cities on primary school completion, school attendance, and literacy rates. Van Maarseveen constructs moving histories of children’s schooling and urban/rural status using harmonized educational attainment variables; demographic and household characteristics; and sub-national geographic units from the censuses in combination with enhanced urban vs. rural status information from the Africopolis database. The detail in the microdata enable van Maarseveen to conduct tests for robustness (measure of urban, time-varying household shocks, age at time of census, and country selection), heterogeneity (gender, parental education) and explore possible confounding mechanisms (urbanization and family formation or labor force participation) by which urban advantage in educational outcomes might operate. While acknowledging complexity of urbanization and other risks of moving to cities, van Maarseveen finds that childhood exposure to urban environments increases educational attainment across a wide range of countries in Africa. Van Maarseveen’s argues urbanization may promote economic development by increasing human capital accumulation—a robust predictor of economic growth—even in the absence of structural transformation.

IPUMS Health Surveys Research Award Winners:

Published Research:

Justin T. Denney and Jason D. Boardman

Hearing Impairment, Household Composition, Marital Status, and Mortality Among U.S. Adults

The authors use 11 years of IPUMS NHIS data and take advantage of two unusual features of NHIS: linkage of adult survey participants to the National Death Index and collection of health data about persons within households and families. This analysis demonstrates a strong association between hearing impairment and higher mortality for adults over age 40, but this relationship was unexpectedly not modified by hearing impaired persons’ household composition and marital status, evaluated as indicators of social support.

Student Research:

Samuel Arenberg, Seth Neller, and Sam Stripling

The Impact of Youth Medicaid Eligibility on Adult Incarceration

The authors take advantage of a policy-based natural experiment: a 1990 increase in Medicaid eligibility for individuals born after September 30, 1983, which primarily affected Black children and adolescents. Comparing Black children born before and after the cutoff date, the analysis shows a 5 percent reduction in the likelihood of incarceration by age 28 as a spillover from access to public health insurance. This work makes an important contribution to the literature on how social welfare benefits during childhood pay off in enhanced well-being in adulthood, and the work shows how IPUMS NHIS data can be fruitfully coupled with other sources, in this case incarceration data.

IPUMS Spatial Research Award Winners:

Published Research:

Kendra Bischoff and Laura Tach

School Choice, Neighborhood Change, and Racial Imbalance Between Public Elementary Schools and Surrounding Neighborhoods

Bischoff and Tach use demographic and socioeconomic data from the School Attendance Boundary Information System (SABINS) and NHGIS, combined with school enrollment data, to explore how school choice relates to racial imbalances between neighborhood schools and their surrounding attendance zones. They find that “the presence of more school-choice options generates racial imbalances,” but “this association differs by type of choice-based alternative,” with private schools reducing non-Hispanic white enrollment and charter schools reducing nonwhite enrollment in neighborhood schools.

Student Research:

Christopher Sichko

Migrant Selection and Sorting during the Great American Drought

Sichko leverages data on residence five years prior to the census in the 1940 full count dataset from IPUMS USA, combined with spatiotemporal data on drought conditions and NHGIS data from the 1935 agricultural census, to investigate county-level migration patterns throughout the United States during the drought of 1935-1939. He finds that individuals with more education from drought-afflicted counties were more likely to migrate than individuals with less education or from non-drought counties and that the majority of migrants relocated to rural areas.

IPUMS Global Health Research Award Winners:

Published Research:

Xinguang Fan and Maria Vignan Loria

Intimate Partner Violence and Contraceptive Use in Developing Countries: How Does the Relationship Depend on Context?

Fan and Loria resolve a puzzle in prior research on intimate partner violence (IPV): Why is the relationship between IPV and contraceptive use negative in some countries and positive in others? Using 30 IPUMS DHS samples from 17 countries, the authors demonstrate that the relationship between IPV and family planning is modified by macro contextual factors, including legal prohibitions and national levels of female empowerment. This study stands out not just for answering an important social science question but also in its creative use of the broad range of information collected in the DHS, including variables on contraceptive use and type, family size preferences, husband-wife disagreement on fertility goals, various indicators of women’s status (e.g., education, employment, decision-making), and domestic violence. In addition, the authors draw on IPUMS DHS variables to determine the direction of causality: from the experience of IPV to increased contraceptive use, rather than from contraceptive use to increased incidence of IPV.

Student Research:

Siyu Heng, Wendy P. O’Meara, Ryan A. Simmons, and Dylan S. Small

Relationship between Changing Malaria Burden and Low Birth Weight in sub-Saharan Africa

This study examines the effect of reduced malaria burden on the low birth weight rate, by leveraging geographic heterogeneity in the extent of recent malaria decline. Specifically, the authors analyze IPUMS DHS data from 19 sub-Saharan African countries with at least two surveys and GPS data on survey cluster locations. After using optimal matching to pair DHS clusters separated in time, the study uses a difference-in-difference approach to compare the incidence of low birth weight in areas that did and did not experience malaria decline. This careful and cleverly designed study revealed a substantial decline in low birth weight (which is associated with cognitive and physical difficulties) resulting from declines in malaria prevalence, especially for first-born children.

IPUMS Time Use Research Award Winners:

Published Research:

Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn, Matthew Comey, Amanda Eng, Pamela Meyerhofer, and Alexander Willén

Culture and gender allocation of tasks: source country characteristics and the division of non-market work among US immigrants

Blau and colleagues analyze the gender division of non-market work comparing immigrant and native-born men and women. Incorporating data on source country gender equality, the authors find smaller gender gaps in non-market work for first-generation immigrants from more gender equal source countries, though still larger than gender gaps between native born men and women.

Student Research:

Joe LaBriola and Daniel Schneider

Class Inequality in Parental Childcare Time: Evidence from Synthetic Couples in the ATUS

Labriola and Schneider’s analysis leverages the large ATUS sample to create synthetic couples and reassess inequality in parental time investments in young children. Their results suggest that class gaps in parental time investments during early childhood may be larger than previously documented.

Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted their work. Next year’s awards will open this coming winter.

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