About IPUMS-CPS

IPUMS-CPS is an integrated set of data from 48 years (1962-2009) of the March Current Population Survey (CPS). 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 Demographic File and Income Supplement (hereafter referred to as the March CPS) is the most widely used by social scientists and policymakers, and it provides the data for IPUMS-CPS.

To make cross-time comparisons using the March CPS data more feasible, variables in IPUMS-CPS are coded identically or "harmonized" for 1962 to 2009. 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. Major funding comes from the National Science Foundation program in Social Science Infrastructure, in addition to supplementary funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.