Learning about the SIPP from IPUMS process and products

Dear Folks–

I am working on a project to build open-source tools for understanding the causes and consequences of income inequality in the R language. My first data-set has been the IPUMS-CPS.

When I first started working with IPUMS-CPS. it, I was pretty overwhelmed, and I didn’t always think the kindest thoughts about your interface. But the longer I work with the data, the more I come to recognize the vast amount of work that I didn’t have to do because you had already done it. There came a day when I truly wrapped my mind around the harmonization and documentation process that you went through, tried to imagine doing it myself, and quailed. Were I a religious man, I would have mentioned you regularly in my prayers thereafter.

That is why I am now writing you this wishful question. Has anyone there ever given thought to an IPUMS-SIPP? I think I know that there is not an accomplished and released SIPP project from IPUMS. But perhaps somewhere along the line someone wrote a paper or a memo on what it would take? Or maybe you considered it, but found that someone at Michigan or Chicago or some location less user group had already done much of the work you considered? Or. you know, something? Anything you might have, I want.

And if no one has ever thought about the SIPP for even a moment, I would still be very interested in a historical account or one or more methodology papers on the construction of the harmonized ACS, CPS, and Decennials. If I decide that I need to hack my way through this jungle with no trail to follow, I at least want to learn what I can from the accounts of my bolder forebearers, , even if you went up the Nile and I am going down the Mississippi.

Thanks again for all your work, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest regards, andrewH

Hi! Just wanted to say I am still interested in this. --andrewH

Hi Andrew, sorry for the delay on this question.

We are glad to hear that you have found value in the products provided by IPUMS. Regarding IPUMS harmonization of the SIPP I don’t have much to share. There is the NBER website which provides “easier” access to the SIPP. I understand that this may not be as easy as downloading and using IPUMS files, but this is largely seen as an improvement over downloading the files from the Census Bureau website. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any written documentation of thinking over time about the potential of an IPUMS SIPP. Regarding documentation on the construction of IPUMS USA, feel free to read through this history of US Census projects at the University of Minnesota. This resource provides a good written history of the procedures used to create the first iterations of IPUMS USA. I hope these resources are helpful.