We are excited to announce the winners of our annual IPUMS Research Awards competition. These awards honor outstanding published research and graduate student papers from 2022 that use IPUMS data to advance or deepen our understanding of social and demographic processes.
The 2022 competition awarded prizes for the best published and best graduate student research in eight categories:
- IPUMS USA, providing data from the U.S. decennial censuses, the American Community Survey, and includes full count data, from 1850 to the present.
- IPUMS CPS, providing data from the monthly U.S. labor force survey, the Current Population Survey (CPS), from 1962 to the present.
- IPUMS International, providing harmonized data contributed by more than 100 international statistical office partners for over 500 censuses and surveys from around the world for 1960 forward as well as full count historical (NAPP) data.
- 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, IPUMS IHGIS, and IPUMS Terra. NHGIS includes GIS boundary files from 1790 to the present; IHGIS provides data tables from population and housing censuses as well as agricultural censuses from around the world; 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.
- IPUMS Excellence in Research, this award is an opportunity to highlight and reward outstanding work using any of the IPUMS data collections by authors who are underrepresented in social science research.
The awards committee reviewed hundreds of submissions; from these, we selected the 2022 winners.
IPUMS USA Research Award Winners:
Published Research Paper:
Zucker uses IPUMS MLP data to examine a question of current social science interest: how do economic conditions affect the social and political loyalties of ethnic groups? Zucker cleverly exploits the boom and bust nature of the coal industry which was located in multiple U.S. states, and employed people from diverse immigrant backgrounds to provide new insights on the intersections between the economy, ethnicity, and political behavior.
Hannah Postel makes an important methodological advance in showing how record linkage of Chinese immigrants in the United States census can be significantly improved, to raise linkage rates to levels seen for European immigrants. Postel’s clear explanation of the method and results make this a valuable contribution to the census record linkage literature.
IPUMS CPS Research Award Winners:
Zachary Parolin, Megan Curran, Jordan Matsudaira, Jane Waldfogel, and Christopher Wimer
Estimating Monthly Poverty Rates in the United States
Parolin and colleagues present a framework for estimating poverty on a monthly basis to produce more timely estimates, account for intra-year income volatility, and better inform the public of current economic conditions. Their analyses illustrate the utility of monthly poverty estimate as a supplement to the traditional annual poverty measure, especially for families with children.
Ahmed M. Ahmed, Kushal Kadakia, Alwiya Ahmed, Blake Shultz, and Xiaojuan Li
Trends in Labor Unionization Among US Health Care Workers, 2009-2021
Ahmed and colleagues examine rates of labor unionization among US health care workers and the impact of unionization on pay, noncash benefits, and work hours. While unionization remained low among health care workers between 2009 and 2021, union membership was associated with higher weekly earnings and better noncash benefits along with a small but greater number of work hours.
IPUMS International Research Award Winners:
Brian Thiede, Heather Randell, and Clark Gray
The childhood origins of climate-induced mobility and immobility
This paper combines climate data with microdata from 81 population censuses across 31 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia to study the relationship between early-life exposure to climatic variability and the likelihood of (lifetime) migration or relocation through early adulthood. Thiede et al. find that early life climate conditions are associated with changes in lifetime migration in most regions of the tropics, most profoundly for people in sub-Saharan Africa. In parts of East and Southern Africa, women and people of lower socioeconomic status are most vulnerable to temperature shocks. The paper makes excellent use of key geographic and demographic information in the censuses to broaden the conversation about drivers of migration.
Reversal of the Gender Gap in Education, Singlehood, and Assortative Mating in Latin America
This paper uses multiple countries and decades of census microdata from Latin America to study change in assortative mating patterns during a period of rapid increase in educational attainment levels. The dramatic increases in educational completion rates combined with the closing of the educational gender gap constitute an interesting challenge to analysis of educational assortative mating. Robles adds age assortative mating to her analysis, providing a fuller and more nuanced understanding of both age and educational assortative mating dynamics in Latin America. She finds that changes in the educational gender gap were associated with higher levels of educational hypogamy. The gender gap had differing effects on the probabilities of being married and on age assortative mating patterns throughout countries. This paper provides a substantively rich picture of mating dynamics across countries in Latin America and effectively uses the availability of census series across time in the analysis.
IPUMS Health Surveys Research Award Winners:
Published Research (NHIS):
Demographers agree immigrants to the United States initially display health advantages over natives, but results are mixed about whether this immigrant advantage erodes over time. Cross-sectional studies using years since immigration to measure duration of residence potentially confound cohort-of-arrival and age-of-arrival effects and may simply capture changes in immigrants’ awareness of health problems. Zheng and Hui avoid these problems by using a longitudinal dataset—IPUMS NHIS data for 1992 to 2009 with linked mortality data through 2011—and the unambiguous health measure of mortality risk. When comparing mortality risk among immigrants relative to natives over elapsed time, the authors find that foreign-born individuals’ survival advantage persisted over the life course and, indeed, increased over the observation period for most gender and racial subgroups. The consistency of their results leads the authors to conclude that health-based selection of who immigrates is the primary mechanism behind the lasting immigrant health advantage.
Published Research (MEPS):
Robert D. Thomas, John W. Davis, Paula M. Cuccaro, and Gretchen L. Gemeinhardt
Assessing Associations between Insecure Income and US Workers’ Health: An IPUMS-MEPS Analysis
In the twenty-first century, insecure gig economy jobs with piece-rate, hourly, or daily pay schedules have increasingly displaced secure salary-based employment for US workers. The authors analyze IPUMS MEPS data from the start of the Great Recession in 2008 to 2019 and document how insecure work income is associated with worse self-reported health and higher levels of psychological distress than are found among workers with traditional salary-based employment, controlling for other factors. This analysis is highly policy-relevant, since nearly one-third of U.S. workers now work in the gig economy as their primary job and industries are pushing to erode traditional employment legal protections in favor of alternate work arrangements.
Student Research (NHIS):
Joshua M. Weinstein, Anna R. Kahkoska, and Seth A. Berkowitz
Food Insecurity, Missed Workdays, And Hospitalizations Among Working-Age US Adults with Diabetes
This paper demonstrates how pooling data from the large annual samples in IPUMS NHIS provides enough statistical power to study small subgroups—in this case, comparing outcomes for working-age adults with diabetes in food secure versus food insecure households. Using pooled data for 2011-18, the authors find that experiencing food insecurity increased the odds of health-related missed workdays, more than doubled the number of health-related missed workdays, and led to greater likelihood of overnight hospitalization in the past year for working-age adults with diabetes. These results complement other studies that have found associations between food insecurity and poor clinical outcomes among diabetic adults. The authors note that such high levels of work absenteeism (nearly five work days/year) may in turn exacerbate food insecurity, reinforcing a negative feedback loop that could be addressed by policies such as paid sick leave and food assistance programs.
Student Research (MEPS):
Emmanuel Ezekekwu, Christopher Johnson, Seyed Karimi, Demetra Antimisiaris, and Doug Lorenz
Long Working Hours and Onset of Psychological Distress: A Longitudinal Analysis
The authors exploit the longitudinal structure of IPUMS MEPS data and the use of consistent measures across multiple question rounds to test whether full-time (30 plus hours/week) employees without psychological distress at baseline had a higher likelihood of reporting psychological distress later if they worked long hours. This hypothesis was confirmed, especially for those working very long hours, though the results varied by gender. This work represents an advance over previous studies that used cross-sectional data and were plagued by reverse causality problems. The authors posit that the effect of long working hours is mediated through two causal pathways–psycho-physiological and health-behavioral. Taking advantage of the richness of IPUMS MEPS data, the authors explore these pathways using chronic disease status and use of medications with sedative effects as indicators which proved statistically significant.
IPUMS Spatial Research Award Winners:
Fiszbein combines NHGIS, IPUMS USA, patent, and climate data to examine the relationship between agricultural diversity and long-run county-level economic development. He finds that counties with higher levels of agriculture diversity in the 1860s began to show higher population densities and per capita incomes beginning in the early 1900s and persisting until the 21st century.
Maurel links NHGIS data to voting returns for city-, county-, and state-level bonding measures over multiple decades to investigate how changing age structures affect support for public investment. He finds that increasing proportions of people over age 65 decreases support for investment, particularly for investments with longer time horizons.
IPUMS Global Health Research Award Winners:
Published Research: IPUMS DHS
Valentina Rotondi & Kerim Can Kavakli
US foreign aid restrictions and maternal and children’s health: Evidence from the “Mexico City Policy”
This paper quantifies the multiple harmful effects on public health of the so-called “Mexico City Policy” (MCP) that, under Republican presidential administrations since the mid-1980s, has restricted US funding for nongovernmental organizations supplying abortion care abroad. Coupling country-level data for 134 countries with individual-level data from IPUMS DHS for 30 countries, the authors demonstrate that MCP not only limits access to family planning services, especially for countries highly dependent on US aid, but also has spillover effects raising infant and maternal mortality and HIV incidence rates. The authors estimate that reinstating the MPC between 2017 and 2021 resulted in approximately 108,000 maternal and child deaths and 360,000 new HIV infections. Quantifying the effects of this public policy brings into stark relief the consequences of a decision often discussed only in political and ideological terms.
Published Research: IPUMS PMA
This study provides rare insight into the fertility consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Taking advantage of the frequency of PMA surveys, the author compares pregnancy rates and modern contraceptive use for women of childbearing age in 2020/2021 to a pre-pandemic baseline in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (CDR), Kenya, and Nigeria. Despite the imposition of substantial restrictions to public life during the first year of the pandemic in these countries, there was overall little change in pregnancy rates, apart from some declines for the youngest and least-educated women. The pandemic apparently did not limit access to family planning services in these settings, since use of modern contraceptives rose for women of all age groups and educational levels in Burkina Faso, CDR, and Kenya.
Kalayu Brhane Mruts, Amanuel Tesfay Gebremedhin, Gizachew A. Tessema, Jane A. Scott, and Gavin Pereira
Interbirth Interval and Maternal Anemia in 21 Sub-Saharan African Countries: A Fractional Polynomial Analysis
While previous studies found an inconsistent relationship between (grouped) interbirth intervals and maternal anemia, the authors find in 21 African countries that both short and very long (continuous) birth intervals increase maternal anemia. Short intervals are problematic due to maternal depletion; after birth intervals of greater than 60 months, women’s bodies may return to a high-risk primigravida state. Anemia is a serious health problem found in over one-third of the non-pregnant and almost half of the pregnant African women surveyed.
IPUMS Time Use Research Award Winners:
Jennifer L. Hook, Leah Ruppanner, and Lynne M. Casper
Occupational characteristics and parents’ childcare time
Hook and colleagues add nuance to the literature on work and parental time with children by combining occupational resource and demand data from O*NET with the ATUS. Examining the linkage between occupational conditions and parental time with children, they find that some occupational characteristics boost and others inhibit maternal engagement with children on work days; occupational characteristics are less salient for fathers’ time with children.
Ice examines how coresidential care demands shape the population gender gap in childcare and eldercare across ages 20–79. She finds that women have more coresidential care demands in early and late adulthood, and they are higher for men in midlife. Care demands are higher for Black and Latina women in early adulthood compared to later in the life course for White women.
IPUMS Excellence In Research Awards Winners:
Yingyi Lin, Emily Smith-Greenaway, and Laura Ferguson
Fertility and child health: The relevance of the contraceptive context
This thought-provoking paper uses regional data from 29 sub-Saharan countries and finds higher levels of modern contraceptive use associated with less undernutrition in children under 5. High societal contraceptive use signals attitudes protective of child health, including women’s agency, future orientation, and trust in medical technology, beyond the effect of individual family size and mother’s own contraceptive use.
Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted their work. The 2023 awards competition will open this coming winter.