Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) at IPUMS

The IPUMS mission is to democratize access to the world’s social and economic data for current and future generations. Data can be a powerful tool. By increasing the accessibility of data, we seek to support transformative scholarship, teaching, and public policy to empower individuals and facilitate research that can effect change. We focus our JEDI efforts on three priority areas: Investing in People, Targeting Outreach, and Amplifying Voices.

Investing in People

What does this mean to us?

While our work is harmonizing data and supporting its use, IPUMS is an organization composed of individuals; we are committed to investing in the staff who make IPUMS possible. We are focused on creating a work environment that celebrates and promotes diversity, and advances a culture of inclusion for persons from historically excluded and underrepresented groups. Our definition of historically excluded and underrepresented groups includes persons who identify as Black/African American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, LGBTQIA+, having a disability, a first-generation college student, or as a woman in STEM. 

What are we doing about this right now?

  • Building a JEDI committee to guide and ensure continuing progress toward the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) vision at the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation, which houses IPUMS and three other companion research centers  

  • Sharing training and engagement opportunities with our staff through a weekly newsletter and monthly discussions via the JEDI committee

  • Serving as mentors for the annual Diversity Fellowship Program organized through the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation (our home institute).

What are we working on for the future?

  • Assessing and improving our recruitment, retention, and promotion of persons from historically excluded and underrepresented groups within our organization. We will review our past recruitment efforts, reach out to new applicant pools when recruiting, solicit feedback from staff on current efforts and future modifications, and review pay equity and representation among our staff.

Targeting Outreach

What does this mean to us?

IPUMS is focused on expanding outreach to new communities of data users, and strengthening support for researchers from historically excluded and underrepresented groups as well as scholars examining issues of disparity, oppression, or injustice in their work using IPUMS data. 

What are we doing about this right now?

  • Developing and maintaining freely available resources designed to reduce barriers to accessing the world’s census and survey data. This includes:

    • Customized extracts of harmonized datasets

    • Tutorials for navigating IPUMS data websites (including multi-lingual tutorials for IPUMS International)

    • Sample code and data training exercises

    • A dedicated user support team available to answer questions about the data

    • Online analysis tools for those without access to statistical analysis software

    • An ipumsr package to simplify use of IPUMS in R (free statistical analysis software)

  • Hosting events that are available to the public:

    • Live webinars on IPUMS data (recordings available afterwards)

    • Quarterly virtual office hours where data users can ask questions directly of IPUMS research staff

What are we working on for the future?

  • Collecting demographic information from IPUMS data users to better understand how to target outreach efforts and additional training materials

  • Reviewing our current outreach and training materials to identify and address gaps. This includes:

    • Expanding our sample code offerings to include R

    • Offering webinars and training materials focused on non-academic researchers

Amplifying Voices

What does this mean to us?

Seeing IPUMS data in action and interacting with data users in person, through virtual events, and via social media motivates us to keep improving. We are committed to actively seeking out and highlighting research from scholars from historically excluded and underrepresented groups, and to highlight research that focuses on understanding and addressing disparities. 

What are we doing about this right now?

  • Maintaining a bibliography of publications that use IPUMS data to allow researchers to share their work and allow others to learn from it

  • Highlighting research that uses IPUMS data through our social media accounts and encouraging all users to tell us about their #poweredbyIPUMS research so we can share it with others

  • Expanding representation in steering and advisory committees for IPUMS initiatives 

What are we working on for the future?

  • Analyzing the voices and perspectives we share on social media to ensure that we are sharing a broad range of research and researchers

  • Identifying other platforms and ways to highlight research from persons from historically excluded and underrepresented groups and research focused on disparities (e.g., our blog)

We welcome your feedback on how we are thinking and talking about JEDI principles at IPUMS, and how we can improve. Please email isrdi-jedi@umn.edu with your comments and questions.