As part of the IPUMS mission to democratize data, our user support team strives to answer your questions about the data. Over time, some questions are repeated. This blog post is an extension of an earlier series addressing frequently asked questions. Maybe you’ll learn something. Perhaps you’ll just find the information interesting. Regardless, we hope you enjoy it!

Here’s one of those questions:

How do I open IPUMS data in my stats package?

You have honed your research question and analytical approach, identified an IPUMS data collection that suits your needs, learned to navigate the IPUMS interface to create a custom data extract, and just received an email notification that your data file is ready to download. You put your favorite song on the stereo and open your data file in Stata (or whatever statistical software package makes your data analysis dreams come true), and…

record scratch! You see a “file not Stata format” error.