IPUMS Announces 2021 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 2021 that use IPUMS data to advance or deepen our understanding of social and demographic processes.

This year we are pleased to announce the IPUMS Excellence in Research Award. The IPUMS mission of democratizing data demands that we increase representation of scholars from groups that are systemically excluded in research spaces. 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*. In addition to the Excellence in Research Award, the 2021 competition awarded prizes for the best published and best graduate student research in seven categories, each associated with specific IPUMS data collections:

  1. IPUMS USA, providing data from the U.S. decennial censuses, the American Community Survey, and includes full count data, from 1850 to the present.
  2. IPUMS CPS, providing data from the monthly U.S. labor force survey, the Current Population Survey (CPS), from 1962 to the present.
  3. 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.
  4. IPUMS Health Surveys, which makes available the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. IPUMS Time Use, providing time diary data from the U.S. and around the world from 1965 to the present.

Over 2,000 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 2021 honorees.

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IPUMS IHGIS: Unlocking International Population and Agricultural Census Data

By Tracy Kugler

Nearly all countries throughout the world conduct population and housing censuses at least every ten years, and most also conduct agricultural censuses or surveys regularly. These censuses collect information on demographics, education, employment, housing characteristics, migration, agricultural land ownership, agricultural workforce, livestock, crops, and more. The resulting data can be used to study a wide range of questions, from the character of demographic transitions within and across countries, to utilization of irrigation, to educational trends among women. 

Unfortunately, this wealth of data has remained largely inaccessible to researchers. The data are typically published in reports as tables summarizing population characteristics. In recent decades, many of these reports have been published as PDF documents and made available on national statistical office websites. While the reports are available, data from a PDF document cannot be easily imported into a statistical or GIS package. Furthermore, the table structures are highly heterogeneous, both across countries and even within the same report.

The International Historical Geographic Information System (IPUMS IHGIS) is designed to provide easy access to these data in a way that researchers can easily use for analysis. In the early phases, IHGIS was known internally as “Project Mako,” named after the Mako shark, which has a global range, voracious appetite, and a reputation for a broad-ranging diet. Like the shark, IHGIS (née Project Mako) will encompass the world and ingest all kinds of data tables.

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