IPUMS Announces Winners of Annual Research Awards

IPUMS is excited to announce the winners of its annual IPUMS Research Awards. The awards honor the best of 2016’s published research and self-nominated graduate student papers 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. IPUMS USA provides data from the U.S. decennial censuses, the American Community Survey, and the Current Population Survey from 1850 to the present. IPUMS International harmonizes 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 makes available the U.S. National Health Interview Survey and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Over 1,900 publications based on IPUMS data appeared in journals, magazines, and newspapers worldwide last year. From these publications and from self-nominated graduate student papers, the award committees selected the 2016 honorees.

2016 IPUMS Health Surveys Research Award

Published research:
Family Structure and Child Health: Does the Sex Composition of Parents Matter?
Corrine Reczek, Russell Spiker, Hui Liu, Robert Crosnoe
Reczek et al. take advantage of unique features of the integrated NHIS data, including the possibility of identifying married and cohabiting same sex couples and linking parental characteristics to multiple child health outcomes to find that “children in cohabiting households have poorer health outcomes than children in married households regardless of the sex composition of their parents.” This paper represents an important contribution to family demography and public policy, as well as to the study of health disparities.

Student research:
“Unhealthy” Returns to Education: Variation in BMI-Associated Premature Adult Mortality by Educational Attainment
Iliya Gutin
Gutin’s study refines our understanding of the relationship between BMI and mortality, by stratifying the population by socioeconomic status/education and considering premature adult mortality for the working age population. Her careful and thorough analysis of the linked NHIS-mortality files constitutes an unusually nuanced view of the relationship between obesity and mortality.

2016 IPUMS International Research Award

Published research co-winners:
Regional Variations in Farming Household Structure for the Swedish Elderly, 1890-1908
Mark Magnuson
Magnusson identifies a spatial pattern in Sweden in which high proportions of the elderly with economic support factors, such as retirement contracts and income from poor relief, coincide with geographic clusters of high-density multi-generational farm households. Where these elderly support mechanisms are not in place—and where farm size and market output are low—these multi-generational stem families (elderly parent living with eldest son’s family)—are rarely found.

Mapping Internal Connectivity Through Human Migration in Malaria Endemic Countries
Alessandro Sorichetta, Tom Bird, Nick Ruktanonchai, Elisabeth zu Erbach-Schoenberg, Carla Pezzulo, Natalia Tejedor, Ian Waldock, Jason Sadler, Andres Garcia, Luigi Sedda & Andrew Tatem
Sorichetta, et al. calculate five-year human internal migration flows for every malaria endemic country. The applications of this research to public health are immense, offering a better understanding of the distribution patterns and ultimate spread of infectious diseases such as malaria, West Nile Virus, schistosomiasis, river blindness and yellow fever.

Student research:
The Effects of Free Primary Education on Occupational Choice and Internal Migration in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia
Celine Zipfel
Zipfel uses population microdata to evaluate the impact of the abolition of school fees, known as Free Primary Education reforms, on future choice of occupation and likelihood of migrating within the region encompassing Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia. She finds that the reform programs succeeded in raising primary and secondary school completion by at least a modest amount.

2016 IPUMS USA Research Award

Published research:
Does Educational Equality Increase Mobility? Exploiting 19th Century U.S. Compulsory Schooling Laws
Emily Rauscher
Rauscher uses IPUMS linked Census files to look at an unintended consequence of compulsory schooling laws. She shows that these laws lead to an initial reduction in inter-generational mobility. This analysis reveals an important insight about the unintended effects of policy and also makes excellent use of data that is linked across generations.

Student research co-winners:
More is Less? The Impact of Family Size on Education Outcomes in the United States, 1850-1940
Hui Ren Tan
Tan relied on twin births in the 1850-1940 complete count datasets and a similar panel dataset of individuals linked between the 1920 and 1940 censuses to examine the causal impact of additional siblings on school attendance and the probability of finishing high school.

The Citizenship Advantage: Immigrant Socioeconomic Attainment across Generations in the Age of Mass Migration
Peter Catron
Catron created a new panel dataset by linking children in the 1920 IPUMS sample to the 1940 complete-count census database to demonstrate the impact of parents’ citizenship status on occupational and educational attainment.


IPUMS provides census and survey data from around the world integrated across time and space. IPUMS integration and documentation makes it easy to study change, conduct comparative research, merge information across data types, and analyze individuals within family and community context. IPUMS is a part of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota and is directed by Regents Professor Steven Ruggles. Data and services are available free of charge via ipums.org.