SORS: "Big Microdata: The Origins of IPUMS"

Date: 06/Mar/2024 Time: 11:00


[ONSITE] BSC Auditorium, Floor -1 - S1-2-1, Repsol Building

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IPUMS is the world's largest population database. It provides individual-level data on the characteristics of 2.5 billion persons residing in a billion households drawn from over 3,000 censuses and surveys of 165 countries between 1703 and 2024. IPUMS receives a half-million data requests annually, and disseminates 1.5 TB of data every day.  There are over 300,000 unique users, and they have produced some 30,000 papers and 3,500 PhD dissertations using the data. This talk will describe how IPUMS got started three decades ago, explain key technological innovations that made it possible, and show some exciting new IPUMS initiatives that are just getting underway.

At the end of this talk, there will be a short presentation of the new project at BSC on the Evolution of Household Composition, a collaboration between BSC Computational Social Sciences, the Centre d´Estudis Demogràfics (CED), and La Fundació Caixa. Albert Esteve, director of CED, and Juan Galeano, researcher at CED, will present the background and challenges of this cutting-edge world-wide project.

Short Bio

Steven Ruggles is Regents Professor of History and Population Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is best-known as the creator of IPUMS, the world’s largest population database. Ruggles has published extensively on historical demography, focusing especially on long-run changes in multigenerational families, single parenthood, divorce, and marriage, and on methods for population history.

In 2022 Ruggles received a MacArthur “genius” award in recognition of his work on IPUMS. Other awards include the Sharlin Award (Social Science History Association), the Goode Award (American Sociological Association), the Lapham Award (Population Association of America), the Gallman-Parker Award (Economic History Association), and the Miller Award (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. In 1995, he was named “King of Quant” by Wired Magazine; in 2014, he was named a “Wonkblog-Certified Data Wizard” by the Washington Post. He has served as President of the Population Association of America (2015), the Association of Population Centers (2017-2018), and the Social Science History Association (2018-2019). Ruggles received a Ph.D. in History with a specialization in historical demography at the University of Pennsylvania, and did postdoctoral training in demography at the University of Wisconsin.


Speaker: Steven Ruggles. Regents Professor of History and Director of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota.
Host: Mercè Crosas. Head of Computational Social Sciences, BSC.