The Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation (ISRDI) is a large, interdisciplinary social science research institute at the University of Minnesota. Through one of our member centers, the IPUMS Center for Data Integration, we develop and provide the world’s largest demographic databases to the global research community, collectively known simply as the IPUMS family of data products. Though ISRDI IT serves all of the member centers of the Institute, the IT effort behind IPUMS is primarily what we’ll be discussing on this blog.
Cutting-edge research on topics as diverse as global health, gender, human migration, education, crime, family structure, poverty and welfare, the labor force, land use and natural resources, and race and ethnicity have all relied upon data delivered from IPUMS. Our users are historians, demographers, economists, epidemiologists, journalists, government staffers, non-profit analysts, among others.
Despite being housed at the University of Minnesota, we have tremendous amounts of data for not only the entire US but also the rest of the world.
- The IPUMS NHGIS project features more than 220 years of US census and demographic data (including boundary maps all the way back to 1790).
- The IPUMS International project alone contains 258 census datasets from 79 different countries.
- IPUMS Terra has truly global environmental raster data, covering the entire surface of the Earth.
These are just three examples of the data we have on offer through IPUMS.
The IPUMS mission is to make all of this data more usable by the research community. It can be hard for researchers to discover the data that’s available, figure out how to extract just what they need, and how to connect multiple datasets together to ask their research question. We strive to build tools and processes which make this process simpler, faster and more transparent, so that the researchers can focus on research instead of data wrangling.
Building the IT systems to meet this mission requires a dedicated staff of talented developers, designers and operations folks. Read more about the ISRDI IT team.