IPUMS Research Awards

2021 IPUMS Research award winners

Previous Award Winners

IPUMS USA Research Awards Winners:

Published Research: 

Cristina Groeger
The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston

This book combines the IPUMS USA 1880-1940 decennial census full count files with other qualitative data to illustrate how the rise of education created a new form of inequality in the U.S. It provides a great example for how IPUMS USA data can be used to understand demographic changes over time and how these changes may relate to the demographic patterns we observe today.

Student Research:

Lukas Althoff
The Geography of Black Economic Progress After Slavery

Althoff and Reichardt construct family histories using full-count census data from 1950 to 1940 to compare Black men descended from enslaved persons freed at Emancipation in 1865 to those whose ancestors were free prior to 1865. They find large gaps in education, income, occupational status, homeownership, and home value that persist through 1940. The gaps shrink substantially when controlling for place, which the authors argue provides evidence for location-specific “policies, institutions, or racial attitudes” in slave-holding areas that continued to hinder Black economic progress long after Emancipation.

IPUMS CPS Research Awards Winners:

Published Research: 

Nathan Wilmers and William Kimball
How Internal Hiring Affects Occupational Stratification

Wilmers and Kimball conduct a creative and careful analysis of 1995 to 2019 Current Population Survey (CPS) data. They leverage the panel component of the CPS to compare with- and between-employer job changes across pairs of months and assess the extent to which more internal hiring in a labor market impacts upward mobility for workers. They find that upward mobility is more prevalent for individuals in the lowest paid occupations who are embedded in labor markets with more external hiring versus more internal hiring. 

Student Research:

Matt Erickson and ChangHwan Kim
Tied Staying on the Rise? Declining Migration among Co-Breadwinner Couples in the United States, 1990s to 2010s

Erickson and Kim leverage two decades of Current Population Survey (CPS) data (1989-1998 and 2009-2018) on couples to examine the impact of increasing parity in husbands' and wives' earnings on migration. Comparing to the earlier period, in the 2009-2018 period co-breadwinner couples became less likely to move across state or county lines relative to other married couples. The authors argue that this represents an increase in tied staying where husbands' and wives' careers are treated more equally and thus couples are less willing to prioritize husbands' careers over wives' careers. They find that this pattern accounts for about one-third of the overall decline in migration among married couples.

IPUMS International Research Awards Winners:

Published Research:

Frederico Ramon Ramos and Justus Uitermark
An Introduction to DUIA: The Database on Urban Inequality and Amenities

The article by Ramos and Uitermark introduces DIUA, the Database on Urban Inequality and Amenities. Using household asset information and associated geographic boundary files from IPUMS International combined with remote sensing derived data from the Atlas of Urban Expansion, the authors have developed a database of socioeconomic development and amenities information on 86 cities with broad global coverage. The paper describes the methods and provides illustrative analyses on asset inequality to demonstrate the potential of the database. In addition to recognizing Ramos and Uitermark’s contribution to facilitating research about urban inequality and global development by developing a valuable resource on cities, IPUMS applauds their commitment to transparency, open source data, methods, and code sharing (R scripts) through GitHub.

Student Research:

Ercio Muñoz Saavedra
The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper estimates intergenerational mobility (upward and downward) in primary education using data from 91 censuses of 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean over the span of half a century. Drawing on the availability of sub-national geographic regions, available in the census data from IPUMS (across 400 first-level subnational units and more than 6,000 second-level units), Munoz finds wide cross- and within-country heterogeneity in educational mobility. Findings show a general declining trend in the mobility gap between urban and rural population and small differences by gender. Distance to the capital and share of employment in agriculture have negative effects on mobility, while employment in industry correlates positively. Munoz has made the disaggregated cross-temporal estimates of educational mobility for LAC countries available in an online data appendix for future research.

IPUMS Health Surveys Research Awards Winners:

Published Research (TIE):

Anna Zajacova, Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk, and Zachery Zimmer
Pain Trends Among American Adults, 2002-2018: Patterns, Disparities, and Correlates

Addressing an aspect of health disparities overlooked by demographers, the authors use 17 years of IPUMS NHIS data to estimate trends in chronic pain in U.S. adults by age, sex, race, and SES. Pain prevalence increased across nearly all population subgroups; socioeconomic disparities widened, due to steeper increases in pain experienced by low SES groups; psychological distress, alcohol use, obesity, and arthritis were correlated with pain; and approximately half of surveyed adults reported experiencing joint, back, neck, facial, or headache pain.

Hui Liu and Rin Reczek
Birth Cohort Trends in Health Disparities by Sexual Orientation

The authors use IPUMS NHIS data from 2013-2018 to study psychological distress, depression, anxiety, self-rated health, and activity limitation among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Millennials, Generation Xer’s, and Baby Boomers and pre-Boomers. Health disadvantages of the LGB population, relative to the straight-identified, have increased across cohorts. The authors explain this finding by generational differences in perspective and changes in the composition of who identifies as LGB. 

Student Research:

Sarah Garcia
The Role of Labor Market Polarization in Physical Disability Rates among Working-Age Americans

Garcia theorizes that deindustrialization has created a polarized workforce in which economic and social circumstances increase rates of physical disabilities among marginalized adults. Based on county-level economic data linked to IPUMS NHIS data from 1980-1996 and 1997-2017, for the later period only, increases in goods-producing industries were associated with decreasing disability rates, while increases in service-providing industries were associated with rising disability rates.

IPUMS Spatial Research Awards Winners:

Published Research:

Wenfei Xu
Legacies of Institutionalized Redlining: A Comparison Between Speculative and Implemented Mortgage Risk Maps in Chicago, Illinois

Xu makes an essential contribution to research on “redlining” by analyzing the impacts of the only extant Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage risk map, covering Chicago. Using 1930-2010 NHGIS census tract data and a novel modeling strategy, she finds evidence that neighborhoods placed in the FHA’s highest risk class experienced lower home values and homeownership rates between 1940 and 1980 along with other disparate trends after 1980. Unlike the FHA maps, the risk maps of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) are now widely available and widely studied, but comparing effects related to both maps’ zones in Chicago, Xu finds the FHA effects are clearer.

Student Research:

Disa M. Hynsjö and Luca Perdoni
The Effects of Federal “Redlining” Maps: A Novel Estimation Strategy

Hynsjö and Perdoni geocode full-count 1930 microdata from IPUMS to train a random forest algorithm on cities mapped by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) and generate simulated HOLC maps for cities that were not mapped in the 1930s. They then conduct difference-in-difference analyses comparing the trajectories of neighborhoods in historically mapped cities to similar tracts in the simulated maps. They find that homeownership rates in D-graded ("red") neighborhoods and property values in both C- ("yellow") and D-graded categories decreased relative to counterpart neighborhoods in non-graded cities, persisting through at least 1980.

IPUMS Global Health Research Awards Winners:

Published Research: IPUMS DHS

Kirsten Stoebenau, Sangeetha Madhavan, Emily Smith-Greenaway, and Heide Jackson
Economic Inequality and Divergence in Family Formation in Sub-Saharan Africa

The authors extend a pattern observed in wealthy countries to Sub-Saharan Africa, demonstrating that rising within-country economic inequality has led to divergent family formation in both contexts.  Cohort data on age at marriage and first birth from multiple rounds of IPUMS DHS data for 12 countries show elites are increasingly delaying family formation in African countries with high or rising inequality, while the economically vulnerable risk disadvantaged life course experience.

Published Research: IPUMS PMA

Wei Chang and Katherine Tumlinson
Free Access to a Broad Contraceptive Method Mix and Women's Contraceptive Choice: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Chang and Tumlinson use IPUMS PMA to study 8 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, use advanced modeling, and most of all, their paper demonstrates well the research possibilities of linking the female and health facility data together. While they found that free access to contraceptives lead to small increases in uptake in some women, their results suggest that cost is not the main barrier to family planning use.

Student Research:

Kathryn McMahon and Clark Gray
Climate Change, Social Vulnerability, and Child Nutrition in South Asia

The authors demonstrate that early life exposure to climate change events (precipitation extremes and anomalous heat) increase child stunting (indicative of long-term malnutrition) in South Asian countries. This careful study examines three key developmental periods and identifies intervening social factors, such as disadvantaged caste status, toilet access, and women’s education, thus pointing to possible policy interventions. 

IPUMS Time Use Research Awards Winners:

Published Research:

Audrey M. Dorélien, Aparna Ramen, Isabella Swanson and Rachelle Hill
Analyzing the demographic, spatial, and temporal factors influencing social contact patterns in U.S. and implications for infectious disease spread

Dorélien and colleagues utilize the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to conduct a novel analysis of social contact patterns. They argue that given limited social contact data in the United States, the ATUS and its rich data on where and with whom individuals spend time could inform population-level variation in risk of disease. Their analyses indicate that social contact patterns vary by age, gender, and race. Incorporating O*NET data on physical proximity, they show that Non-Hispanic Blacks are the most likely to work in jobs where they are in close proximity to others, which may help explain racial disparities in COVID-19 infection and mortality rates.

Student Research:

Thomas Lyttelton, Emma Zang, and Kelly Musick
Telecommuting and gender inequalities in parents' paid and unpaid work before and during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Lyttelton and colleagues use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS) to analyze the link between telecommuting and the gender division of labor at home and at work prior to and during the pandemic. In their innovative analyses, they match ATUS respondents in similar occupations and by gender to compare the time use patterns of parents working from home and in the workplace. They find that telecommuting reduces gender gaps in childcare but is associated with women doing more housework and experiencing more work interruptions. 

IPUMS Excellence in Research Awards Winners:

The IPUMS mission of democratizing data demands that we increase representation of scholars from groups that are systemically excluded in research spaces. This award is an opportunity to highlight and reward outstanding work using any of the IPUMS data collections by authors who are underrepresented in social science research*.

Published Research:

Paolo Nicola Barbieri and Hieu M.Nguyen
When in America, do as the Americans? The evolution of health behaviors and outcomes across immigrant cohorts

The authors use 30 years of IPUMS NHIS data to add nuance to the "immigrant paradox" literature by examining composition and assimilation of immigrant cohorts over time with regard to health behaviors and conditions.  Despite noting some heterogeneity in health patterns and cohort composition, they find immigrants generally "de-assimilate" unhealthy behaviors (smoking and drinking) yet still converge towards the poorer health outcomes of American natives (as measured by asthma, vision problems, and coronary heart conditions).

Student Research (TIE):

Ziyao Tian
Intergenerational Social Mobility of Asian Americans Under the Shadow of Asian Exclusion (1882–1943)

The authors use linked census data from 1900-1940 to explore the previously elusive question of intergenerational mobility among Asian Americans in the early 20th century. Their contrasting findings on educational and socioeconomic mobility and their changes over time lay bare the importance of discriminatory policies in moderating the relationship between education and economic success.

Danyang Zhang
Marriage Market Signaling and Women’s Occupation Choice

Using data from eight decennial censuses and over three decades of the CPS, the author proposes a new model for understanding gender disparities in the labor market that focuses on caregiving occupations. Hypothesizing that occupational choice includes a signaling game to potential marriage partners, the paper finds that women's selection into caregiving occupations is responsive to marriage rates, divorce legislation, and the sex ratio of immigrants.

Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted their work. Next year’s award process will open this coming winter.


*Because IPUMS is based in the United States, we often include persons who identify as Black/African American, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latino/a/x, Asian American, first-generation college graduates or students, LGBTQ persons, or persons with disabilities in our definition of systemically excluded groups. We recognize for scholars outside of the U.S., in particular, this list may not capture discrimination in their social contexts, and encourage submissions from persons who identify with a group that has been systemically excluded even if it is not explicitly listed here.