About IPUMS-CPS

IPUMS-CPS is an integrated set of data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) from 1962 forward. The CPS is a monthly U.S. household survey conducted jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Initiated in the 1940s in the wake of the Great Depression, the survey was designed to measure unemployment. A battery of labor force and demographic questions, known as the "basic monthly survey," is asked every month. Over time, supplemental inquiries on special topics have been added for particular months. Among these supplemental surveys, the March Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) is the most widely used by social scientists and policymakers, and it provides one set of data for IPUMS-CPS. Additionally, we are building our monthly data series to include basic and supplement data in addition to the ASEC.

To make cross-time comparisons using the CPS data more feasible, variables in IPUMS-CPS are coded identically or "harmonized". IPUMS-CPS also facilitates the study of long-term change by providing detailed documentation covering comparability issues for each variable and an interactive data extraction system.

This harmonized dataset is also compatible with the data from the U.S. decennial censuses that are part of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA). Researchers can take advantage of the relatively large sample size of IPUMS-USA at ten-year intervals and fill in information for the intervening years using IPUMS-CPS. Documentation for individual variables in IPUMS-CPS covers comparability issues between IPUMS-CPS and IPUMS-USA. See sample notes and sample designs for more overview information about the CPS and IPUMS-CPS data.

IPUMS-CPS consists of all substantive variables from the original CPS samples. Various constructed variables from the original datasets have been excluded.

Like IPUMS-USA, IPUMS-CPS is microdata--it provides information about individual persons and households. Researchers can create tabulations and multivariate analyses tailored to their particular questions, using their desired set of variables.

Researchers can access the IPUMS-CPS data without charge by completing the registration form. The data are not suitable for studying small geographic areas or for genealogical research. Publications based on these data should appropriately cite the database and should be reported to IPUMS-CPS.

The IPUMS-CPS project was carried out by the Minnesota Population Center in collaboration with Unicon Research Corporation. Major funding comes from the National Science Foundation program in Social Science Infrastructure, in addition to supplementary funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.