By Finn Roberts & Jonathan Schroeder
R users have a powerful new way to access IPUMS NHGIS!
The July 2023 release of ipumsr 0.6.0 includes a fully-featured set of client tools enabling R users to get NHGIS data and metadata via the IPUMS API. Without leaving their R environment, users can find, request, download and read in U.S. census summary tables, geographic time series, and GIS mapping files for years from 1790 through the present. This blog post gives an overview of the possibilities and describes how to get started.
What you can do with ipumsr
Request and download NHGIS data
You can use ipumsr to specify the parameters of an NHGIS data extract request and submit that request for processing by the IPUMS servers. You can request any of the data products that are available through the NHGIS Data Finder: summary tables, time series tables, and shapefiles. You can also specify general formatting parameters (e.g., file format or time series table layout) to customize the structure of your data extract.
Once you have specified a data extract, you can use a series of ipumsr functions to:
- submit the extract request to the IPUMS servers for processing
- check on the extract status
- wait for the extract to complete
- download the extract as soon as it’s ready
- load the data into R with detailed data field descriptions.
This workflow allows you to go from a set of abstract NHGIS data specifications to analyzable data, all without having to leave your R session!