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IPUMS, which originally stood for Integrated Public Use Microdata Series but no longer abbreviates anything,[1] is the world's largest individual-level population database. IPUMS consists of microdata samples from United States (IPUMS-USA) and international (IPUMS-International) census records, as well as data from U.S. and international surveys. The records are converted into a consistent format and made available to researchers through a web-based data dissemination and analysis system.[2]

IPUMS is housed at the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation (ISRDI), an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Minnesota, under the direction of Professor Steven Ruggles.[3]



IPUMS includes all persons enumerated in the United States Censuses from 1850 to 2020 (though, the 1890 census is missing because it was destroyed in a fire) and from the American Community Survey since 2000 and the Current Population Survey since 1962. IPUMS includes household-level data for United States Censuses from 1790 to 1840, due to the first six censuses only including the name of the head of household, with tallied household totals following.[4] IPUMS provides consistent variable names, coding schemes, and documentation across all the samples, facilitating the analysis of long-term change.[5]

IPUMS-International includes countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America for 1960 forward. The database currently includes more than a billion individuals enumerated in 365 censuses from 94 countries around the world.[6] IPUMS-International converts census microdata for multiple countries into a consistent format, allowing for comparisons across countries and time periods. Special efforts are made to simplify use of the data while losing no meaningful information. Comprehensive documentation is provided in a coherent form to facilitate comparative analyses of social and economic change.[7]

Additional databases in the IPUMS family include the:

The Journal of American History described the effort as "One of the great archival projects of the past two decades."[13] Liens Socio, the French portal for the social sciences, gave IPUMS the only “best site” designation that has gone to any non-French website, writing “IPUMS est un projet absolument extraordinaire...époustouflante [mind-blowing]!” [14]

The official motto of IPUMS is "use it for good, never for evil."[15] All IPUMS data and documentation are available online free of charge.


  1. ^ "IPUMS: Mission & Purpose".
  2. ^ "IPUMS".
  3. ^ Steven Ruggles. "The Minnesota Population Center Data Integration Projects: Challenges of harmonizing census microdata across time and place" (PDF). 2005 Proceedings of the American Statistical Association. Government Statistics Section, Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association: 1405–1415.
  4. ^ "IPUMS USA | U.S. 1790-1840 Complete Count Data". usa.ipums.org. Retrieved 2022-05-29.
  5. ^ Steven Ruggles (2014). "Big Microdata for Population Research" (PDF). Demography. 51 (1): 287–297. doi:10.1007/s13524-013-0240-2. PMC 3949202. PMID 24014182.
  6. ^ "IPUMS-I: Sample Information". international.ipums.org. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  7. ^ Steven Ruggles, Robert McCaa, Matthew Sobek, and Lara Cleveland (2015). "The IPUMS Collaboration: Integrating and Disseminating the World's Population Microdata" (PDF). Journal of Demographic Economics. 81 (2): 203–216. doi:10.1017/dem.2014.6. PMID 26236495.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "North Atlantic Population Project".
  9. ^ "IPUMS NHGIS". IPUMS NHGIS. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  10. ^ "IPUMS Health Surveys".
  11. ^ "IPUMS Global Health".
  12. ^ "IPUMS Time Use".
  13. ^ Joel Perlmann (2003). "IPUMS". Journal of American History. 90: 339–340. doi:10.2307/3659961. JSTOR 3659961.
  14. ^ "Liens Socio".
  15. ^ "Ipums USA".