An Introduction to the IPUMS Extract API for Microdata

By Renae Rodgers

Have you heard the news?! The IPUMS Extract API now supports microdata! For users who have been clamoring for this feature for some time, feel free to skip to the final section for resources to get started. For our users who haven’t been awaiting this announcement with bated breath, and who may be saying to themselves, “ok…great…but…”


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This blog post will give a brief introduction to APIs, give some examples of ways to use the IPUMS Extract API in your workflow, and share some more in-depth resources.

What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is an intermediate layer between a user and a server that allows the user to interact programmatically with another program or a service. First, the user’s program talks to the API – this is known as making an API call or a request. The API, in turn, talks to the server, translating the user’s request into something the server can understand. The server returns the requested information to the API, and the API then returns that information to the user. For example, Google Maps has an API that allows developers to request and retrieve information from Google Maps from within their applications, without needing to go through a web interface.

At this point you may be thinking, “great, now I have a general idea of what an API is, but I am not a software developer so… thanks anyway.”


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The IPUMS Extract API opens up many possibilities for easing collaboration, and creating efficient workflows with only a few simple lines of code. Please read on!

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2022 Data-Intensive Research Conference

By Kari Williams

Registration is now open for the 2022 Data-Intensive Research Conference, being held July 20-21 in person in Minneapolis, MN and online. This event is sponsored by the Network for Data-Intensive Research on Aging (NDIRA), part of the University of Minnesota’s Life Course Center (which is co-located with IPUMS).

The conference will feature research presentations and discussions focused on the 2022 theme: Contextualizing Work and Health across the Life Course. The program includes research that leverages large-scale population data (including some #poweredbyIPUMS work) to explore these concepts. Here’s a sneak peak at the conference program. We are excited for research that digs into many different aspects of work (paid work, caregiving, labor market transitions) and health (health behaviors, health conditions, disability, wellbeing) with a life course perspective.

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