Is it a violation of the user license if I use IPUMS data when providing for-profit consulting services?


Following an academic publication that uses IPUMS data, I have been approached by a firm that would like to contract with me to provide them with related consulting services. The job would require me to analyze IPUMS data and report the results of my analysis to the client. I would charge a fee to do this work. Would this arrangement represent a violation of the IPUMS licensing agreement, which specifies that the data cannot be sold? My confusion stems from the fact that I would not be selling IPUMS data, but would rather be selling my expert evaluation of the client’s situation, which evaluation would be informed in part by an analysis of IPUMS data.


The answer depends on the source of your data. You can use IPUMS-USA or IPUMS-CPS data for paid consulting work as long as you are not selling the actual data files. Since you’ll instead be selling your analysis, this doesn’t sound as though it should be a problem in this instance.

The use of IPUMS-International data for paid consulting work is only allowed when substantive scholarly or policy research is performed on the behalf of a government agency or non-profit. Users planning on utilizing IPUMS-International data for this purpose should provide IPUMS-International with information about the contract or contact information for the person within the agency or organization hiring the contract work.