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…”


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.”


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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Introducing CPS-ASEC Longitudinal Extracts

By Renae Rodgers

The panel component of the Current Population Survey and new Longitudinal Extracts

Did you know that the Current Population Survey (CPS) – an important source of information on unemployment, poverty, and many other topics – has a panel component? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. The CPS rotation pattern is complex and can be difficult to work with. In fact, IPUMS CPS has held multi-day workshops intended to introduce researchers to the CPS panel component, help them understand the rotation pattern, and show some convenient IPUMS CPS features that make working with CPS panel data a little easier. If you’re completely new to the CPS panel, check out the materials from our latest workshop!

Maybe you did know about the CPS panel component, but looked at the complex rotation pattern, the Census Bureau guidelines and linking keys, and decided that this was for the birds. If this sounds like you, then our newest IPUMS CPS feature may be right for you! IPUMS CPS users can now download CPS-ASEC panels that contain two observations per person across a one-year period as longitudinal extracts. The rest of this blog post will explain what you are getting when you make a CPS-ASEC longitudinal extract and will walk you through how to create one for yourself.

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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.

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