What is an IPUMS API?

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An IPUMS API will provide programmatic access to IPUMS metadata and data without having to interact directly with one of the IPUMS websites. Currently, data can only be retrieved from IPUMS by logging into a website and selecting variables/datasets/tables from a filterable list.

Nothing! Our website will remain available for users who prefer this method of browsing and retrieving data. We agree it is a great way for humans to explore what is available, but it is not so great for computers. APIs are really for computers. APIs allow computer programs to talk to one another in a very structured, pre-specified way. Allowing this sort of interaction will give developers and programmers a way to access IPUMS data and metadata directly instead of having to go through the IPUMS website. This capability will make it possible to build new tools, libraries, interactive widgets, doodads, and whatsits powered by IPUMS.

That’s fine! You don’t have to be in order to benefit from IPUMS APIs! You can continue to use IPUMS data as you always have, but things are going to be getting better behind the scenes and new tools may become available to you as a result of the IPUMS API Program.

Excellent! The IPUMS API program is just getting started, but you can already help by becoming a beta tester! Start here: developer.ipums.org

Of course! The #ipums-api category is going to be the primary hub for discussion surrounding the IPUMS API program. So if you have an idea or know of a great use for IPUMS APIs start a topic and let us know! You can also email ipums+api@umn.edu with suggestions, questions, etc.

Our data wants to talk to your computers! Let’s make that happen!

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