IPUMS International contains person and household level data on 94 countries from 365 censuses over time. IPUMS allows users to select specific variables they would like to analyze, such as those pertaining to employment, demographic or migration information, and provides that data for all countries and all years for which the chosen variable data is available. When extracting the data, IPUMS allows for the selection of specific samples (selecting specific countries, regions, and years for the variables chosen) and select cases (selecting specific values for the variables chosen). These features can be used to limit the file size of the extracted data and also ensure all of the data downloaded is only the data needed.*
*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the IPUMS International website.
Available data file formats
CSV, Stata (.dta), SPSS (.sav), SAS (.sas7bdat) and fixed-width text (.dat).
This data source requires registration and login information to access the data. It is otherwise open to the public.
how to retrieve data by example
Suppose you would like to access raw data on demographics, employment characteristics and income for all available countries over time from the 1970s to present. You would like to obtain the data in a CSV file, which can be used in Excel.
- Go to the IPUMS International website and click on Browse Data under Create an Extract.
(Note: if you have not already registered and created an account, this must be done before any data can be downloaded.)
- Under the heading Select Harmonized Variables, click on the Person dropdown menu to see the available variable fields. Click on Demographic.
- Add the variables Age (AGE), Sex (SEX) and Marital Status (MARST) to your cart by clicking on the plus button to the left of that variable.
- Return to the Person dropdown menu and click on Work. On this page, add to your cart the variables Activity status (employment status) (EMPSTAT), Labor force participation (LABFORCE), Occupation, ISCO general (OCCISCO) and Hours worked per week (HRSWORK1).
- Return to the person dropdown menu and click on Income. On this page, add to your cart the variables Wage and salary income (INCWAGE), Income from anti-poverty or welfare programs (INCWEL) and Source of livelihood (INCSRC).
- Now that all of the desired variables have been selected and added to the cart, go to the Data Cart box at the top center and click on View Cart. You will be taken to your data cart page. Here, click on the second blue box that says “Add More Samples.”
- Since you would like to have this data for all available countries and years starting with the 1970s, check all of the boxes on this page except for the column that contains the 1960s variables. (Note: this can be easily done by checking the box at the top that says All Samples (select/unselect) and then unchecking the box for 1960s.) When all of the necessary boxes have been checked, click on Submit Sample Selections at the top of the page.
- The next page will again show your data cart. Notice that some variables have been preselected, meaning they are automatically included in your data cart. The remaining variables are the ones you have chosen. After ensuring the list is correct, click on Create Data Extract.
- The last page will show your extract request. This is where the desired data file format can be selected. To obtain a CSV data file format, click Change in the row Data Format and then, on the following page, select CSV followed by clicking Submit to return to the extract request. Describe your extract is the box provided and then click Submit Extract to download the data to your computer.
(Note: the estimated size of the data file in this scenario is quite large, and attempting to download a file of this size could create issues with your computer. To reduce the size of the file, you can choose Select Cases to limit the values of the variables selected or return to the Select Samples page to limit the years, countries or regions included in your extract.)
You should now have access to the raw data on demographic information, employment characteristics and income for all available countries over time from the 1970s to present.
Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. IPUMS provides a general citation for using their data, which can be seen below.
Minnesota Population Center. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, International: Version 7.2 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2019. https://doi.org/10.18128/D020.V7.2