Friday, December 18, 2009

American Community Survey Release!

From the Census Bureau: The U.S. Census Bureau today released the 2006-2008 ACS PUMS files. The 2006-2008 ACS 3-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files provide population and housing unit responses from a sample of individual ACS questionnaires collected during the January 2006 through December 2008 period.

These microdata allow ACS data users to look at relationships among variables not shown in the standard data products published by the Census Bureau and provide greater accessibility to data for research projects. In particular, researchers and data users have found the PUMS data useful for regression analysis, modeling applications, and designing tabulations to create custom ACS population and housing characteristics data.

The 2006-2008 ACS 3-year PUMS data can be accessed on American FactFinder or by using DataFerrett

The Minnesota Population Center's IPUMS project will release their version of the 2006-2008 ACS PUMS files later this year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hey! IPUMS users! Read this!

IPUMS Research Award! Call for Nominations!

The Minnesota Population Center is pleased to announce the second annual award competition for research using the MPC’s microdata collection. The 2009 IPUMS competition has been expanded to include separate awards for research using the USA and international databases. Papers or publications submitted should utilize one or more of the IPUMS datasets for studying social, economic, and/or demographic processes.

To be eligible for the USA awards, papers must make significant use of data from the IPUMS-USA (decennial census and/or American Community Survey data) or IPUMS-CPS (Current Population Survey data). To be eligible for the INTERNATIONAL awards, research must make substantive use of at least one non-USA sample in the IPUMS-International (census microdata from the US and other countries).

Prizes will be awarded for:
• Best published work, and
• Best work by a graduate student, published or unpublished.

To be considered for the graduate student competition, the paper’s lead or sole author must currently be a graduate student. The award consists of a $250 cash prize, a plaque, and a prominent announcement on the IPUMS websites. Winners may also be invited to the Minnesota Population Center—at MPC expense—to present their research.

Deadline for nomination or submission: December 15, 2009.

Submission procedure: Papers or publications should be submitted in electronic form to by December 15, 2009. All submissions should include the submitting author’s name, institution, and contact information. Please indicate whether the lead author is currently a graduate student. Work that is already published should have a publication date of 2008 or 2009. Unpublished work should have been written within the last two years. Publications may be in any language but an English-language version must be provided.
Notification: Winners will be notified in late February, 2010.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do you like working outdoors and meeting new people?

Then I've got a job for you! The US Census Bureau is looking for temporary, part-time employees for the 2010 Census. They are especially interested in bilingual speakers. Check out their website for more information!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Be Counted!: New website for Census 2010

The Census Bureau has launched a pretty new website for Census 2010. My fave page is the interactive sample form. More information below. Check it out, spread the word, and be counted!

The Census Bureau is working hard to reach every person living in America to inform them and their communities about the importance of the 2010 Census. As part of this larger integrated communications effort, today we launched a new website, A Spanish language site will launch in November.

This website is the platform on which we will build a national dialogue about how each person’s participation helps paint a new “Portrait of America.” Share this site with your family, friends and neighbors to spread the word about why the 2010 Census matters. The census is now in your hands.

Site features:
  • In the marquee, hear real people from all walks of life and from communities across America express their questions about the Census and get the real answers.
  • In the Whole Story, learn the truth behind census myths.
  • In Top Questions, easily find answers to even more questions.
  • “How It Works” explains the census and walks you through the 10 questions on the form that you will receive next spring.
  • Information on key census dates is just a click away.
  • The multimedia center (videos, photos and audio) shares with you peoples' stories about how the census is easy, safe, and important.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why is the OECD your new BFF?

Because the publishing arm of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is the most savvy and user-oriented data publisher around (beyond of course my other BFF SimplyMap). What has the OECD done to deserve my love? The OECD Factbook 2009 is now available as an iPhone and iTouch app. That's right dataheads, you can take your economic indicators out on the road with you. Below is a screenshot of the Total Population for the 30 OECD countries and OECD cooperation countries (Brazil, Russia, etc).

While the bar charts aren't visually interesting, it is still pretty nifty to have major indicators from 30 countries at your fingertips (Potentially useful for my bar trivia addicts). I would love to see a more interactive version at some point (e.g., be able to choose specific countries to display and compare). Nevertheless, this e-reference book is a great start. Thanks OECD!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Visualize It! with the IMF Data Mapper

Need a visual display of the Gross Domestic Product for a few countries? IMF to the rescue! The IMF Data Mapper lets you visualize data from some of the IMF’s major sources, including World Economic Outlook, Balance of Payment Statistics, Government Finance Statistics, AFR Regional Economic Outlook, and Joint IMF-OECD Statistics. You can choose from around 80 different indicators, such as GDP, inflation rate or unemployment rate. You can display data for specific countries, regions, or analytical groups, such as the Euro area or emerging and developing economies.

The display includes a zoomable map of the world. If you hover over a particular country, you will see the indicator’s value for that country, and if you click on the map, the display will zoom in. It also provides a line and a bubble chart displaying data points over time. The data for selected indicators can be exported to an excel file or you can export the map and chart as picture files (in .png formats).

The help screen is limited, so you may need to play around with the options to get comfortable with it. Overall, it is a good free source for creating visual displays of international economic data. Take a look at the IMF Data Mapper.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Newest kid on the block:

The Australian government is getting into the act of making public information datasets available online through The portal provides access to a variety of government datasets with most concentrated in environmental, community, geographic and transportation areas at the moment. My favorite is a shapefile of all Austrialian World Heritage properties! Many of the datasets have Creative Commons licenses, so feel free to have fun with them.

In fact, the Government 2.0 Taskforce is encouraging Australian users to enter the Mashup Australia Competition. Submit your mashups between October 7th and November 6th. The US version,, should take a cue from the Australians and have a mashup competition!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Health insurance stats now in the American Community Survey's 2008 data

Want to know how many people don't have health insurance in Guilford County? Check it out...

The Census Bureau released 2008 American Community Survey data on September 22. You can access the data through American FactFinder or from the American Community Survey page. This release includes health insurance coverage data for areas with populations over 65,000. Of course the margins of error are a bit high (the constant problem with ACS), but it is still useful information!

If you have questions about using these sources, please feel free to contact Lynda.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great Things Happening at ICPSR

Hello again dataheads! The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research just held a webinar on their new site. Here is the quick and dirty.
  • New search engine: They have rebuilt the search engine completely. The best addition is faceted searching, which allows you to filter your search with additional terms like subject terms, geography, time period, and even study author. You also have easy and quick access to the ICPSR Thesaurus for more terms.
  • Study homepage changes: They have also changed the study homepages. If you enter into a study homepage you will see an option for Quick Download, which allows you to download all study files at one time. You will still need to log in to your personal account and to agree to the terms of use, but it is a lot quicker! In addition, they have condensed the info displayed, but provide links for more detail.
  • NO MORE DATA CARTS! The data cart is a thing of the past (Shame really. I loved the idea of a grocery bag full of data). Instead you will see all the various options for download displayed immediately. One note on this option: if the various options are grayed out, then just log in as a member and the arrows will be available for downloading data.
  • RSS Feeds: You can now create RSS feeds based on your search query. This is my fave feature by far! So, if I'm interested in data about crime in the US, then I can save my search query to my RSS reader. Super cool! Let me know if you have any questions about doing this!
  • Other stuff: They have expanded the Variable Database to cover about 20% of holdings minus Census data, so you can search for particular variables across a large number of studies. In addition they have started using Blogger and integrating Blogger posts into the ICPSR via RSS feeds. The ultimate goal for this integration is to (eventually) allow users to comment on parts of the website and maybe individually studies. I look forward to the possibility of the community sharing its vast knowledge about particular studies and more.

If you want to see all of this great stuff for yourself, check out the slides or recorded presentation. There are many more tutorials on a variety of topics available through the Data User Help Center, so check it out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

News from the Minnesota Population Center and IPUMS

Job posting and data announcement from Minn Pop Center and IPUMS:


The Minnesota Population Center is recruiting a post-doctoral researcher to work on IPUMS-CPS; the start date is flexible. We also have immediate openings for Research Associates/Research Scientists to work on IPUMS-USA and two other projects. To obtain more information and download position announcements, please visit our website at


The Census Bureau plans to release microdata from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) on September 22nd, 2009. We will produce an IPUMS version of this dataset within a week of its public release. The IPUMS version of the data will be available via the IPUMS-USA site. Finally, earlier today we released the IPUMS version of the 2009 March Current Population Survey, available on the IPUMS-CPS site at .

Check this website, if you are interested in the IPUMS mailing list.

If you use census data and haven't checked out the awesome efforts at the Minn Pop Center, then you really need to do so now. Like today. It will change your life. Promise.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the new ICPSR)

That's right dataheads! The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research has officially entered the 21st century and changed its look. You can even "attend" a webinar to learn all that the new site has to offer. I'm very excited about the new search engine. Plus there seems to be tons of new video tutorials (my fave thing, ever). I'll be back soon after the webinar to blog more about the changes, but in the meantime you should check it out!

2009 ICPSR Web Site - Navigating & Using the New Site!

Join us for a Webinar on September 16. Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now.

This presentation will focus on changes to the ICPSR Web site, with special attention given to the search engine, the study home page, and the new download page. We'll also briefly discuss RSS notifications and additional changes that will be made by the end of the calendar year.

Title: The 2009 ICPSR Web Site - Navigating & Using the New Site!

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Are you a Power User?

Featured Database: Statistical Warehouse

Statistical Warehouse is UNCG's general resource for finding statistics on a wide variety of topics. From demographics to social indicators, from economic stats to voting stats, Statistical Warehouse lives up to its name by being a warehouse bursting with stats. Stats Warehouse also now has ACCRA Cost of Living data for all you Power Users out there! This quick start tutorial shows you how to use the Power User mode to find the population of specific counties.

Access to Statistical Warehouse is restricted to UNCG faculty, staff, and students.

Click on the bottom right of the video for full screen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Want to know more about Guilford County in 1960?

A new project, NC Census Data: 1960-1980, is now providing online access to NC census profiles and maps. A joint effort of the State Library of North Carolina and the North Carolina State Data Center, the site provides North Carolina census profiles for 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s censuses as full-text searchable PDFs. These profiles include county and state level demographics information and enumeration district maps.

Check, check, check it out!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

SimplyMap Quick Start Tutorial - Finding Specific Census Tracts

SimplyMap is a web-based mapping database for developing thematic maps–and tables—using thousands of demographic, business, and marketing data variables. This quick start tutorial shows you how to find data for a specific census tract. Census tracts are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of counties created by the US Census Bureau. Read this page from the Census Bureau for more information about census tracts.

Access to SimplyMap is restricted to UNCG faculty, staff, and students.

Click on the bottom right of the video for full screen.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Free Data Conference for UNCG Faculty, Staff, and Students

The Triangle Census Research Data Center (TCRDC) will hold its annual conference "What is the TCRDC and How Can it Help Me?" on September 18, 2009 at Duke University. The conference speakers will talk about using the confidential microdata available at the TCRDC. You will also have an opportunity to talk with TCRDC staff members about accessing the confidential data.

The conference is free for UNCG faculty, staff, and students. You may register online and read more about the day's agenda.

UNCG researchers now have access to unpublished Census microdata through a partnership between Duke University, the U.S. Census Bureau, the UNC System and the TCRDC. This partnership allows the faculty, students and research staff of member institutions to access unpublished microdata from the Census Bureau’s economic and demographic censuses and surveys. Confidential data from other government agencies, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, may be accessed as well. Access to this confidential microdata is provided at a secure computer laboratory located on the Duke Campus. Check out the TCRDC web site for more information about the available data sources.

Friday, August 7, 2009

All your country data needs!

Featured Database: World Development Indicators Online

World Development Indicators Online is UNCG's primary database for statistics on individual countries. Originally published as the World Bank's World Development Indicators Yearbook, WDI compiles development data for over 800 indicators and 200 countries. The purpose of this compilation is to provide a statistical benchmark for the progress of development in individual countries and regions. The data is wide ranging from economic indicators, such as balance of payments data, to social indicators, such as the literacy rate.

If you are working on topics with an international focus or country comparisons, I encourage to explore WDI. It is a great database and very easy to use.

Off campus access to World Development Indicators Online is restricted to UNCG faculty, staff, and students.

Click on the bottom right of the video for full screen.

Friday, July 31, 2009

ICPSR wants YOU!

...To comment on their new website. You have until August 11 to explore the site and send comments and suggestions. Personally I'm very excited about the new search engine and the video tutorials! Woohoo, welcome to Web 2.0 ICPSR! It's fun here!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Printing of 2010 Census Questionnaires Under Way

Press release from US Census Bureau:
New 10-Question Survey Among Shortest Since First Census in 1790
The U.S. Census Bureau has begun printing 2010 Census questionnaires as the agency continues preparations for next year's count of the U.S. population. The new questionnaire, which every residential address will receive, is designed to be one of the shortest since the first census in 1790, asking just 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete.

"Our goal is to count everyone living in the United States once, only once, and in the right place," said Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves. "Making that happen begins with the 2010 Census questionnaire, a powerful tool that provides critical data that will guide representation in Congress and the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funds to state, local and tribal governments every year."

Beginning in mid-March 2010, more than 120 million questionnaires will be delivered to U.S. residential addresses. To meet the goal, the Census Bureau will print more than 1.5 million documents every day.

See the full press release....

Friday, July 17, 2009

SimplyMap Quick Start Tutorial

Featured Database: SimplyMap

SimplyMap is a web-based mapping database for developing thematic maps–and tables—using thousands of demographic, business, and marketing data variables. Each user accesses SimplyMap through a "personal workspace". This quick start tutorial is an introduction to the layout of SimplyMap. I will be creating more on other tasks within SimplyMap. Stay tuned!

Access to SimplyMap is restricted to UNCG faculty, staff, and students.

Click on the bottom right of the video for full screen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Viewing government data in google earth

Here's a great post from Jeanne Kramer-Smyth at Free Government Information (FGI)

"One great way to get your head around large government datasets to view it using Google Earth. I went on a hunt for the most interesting, striking and geography based government data sets currently available in the KML format used by Google Earth. There is a large gallery of tours and layers available from Google Earth's site, including some based on government data - but I wanted to look beyond them.... Check out more of the entry at Free Government Information (FGI)!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free workshop on Consumer Expenditure Survey Microdata

Register soon!

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) will host its 4th annual microdata user's workshop from July 29-31, 2009. The conference includes both informative and practical sessions for users of all levels. The first day of the conference will be dedicated to new and novice data users, and the third day will be dedicated to intermediate and expert users. The second day will showcase current research using CE data. The conference is free for all participants and will be held in the Bureau of Labor Statistics conference center in Washington, DC. More detailed information, including a link to the registration form, can be found on the CE Web site

From ICPSR...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gearing up for Census 2010...The countdown begins!

Want to learn about the difficulties of counting the population in a city like New York? Check out the National Public Radio story on the problems with counting New Yorkers and the difficulties leading up to the Census 2010. Be sure to check out the interactive maps on response rates and census figures state by state too!

And don't forget, the 2010 Census will be happening soon. Check out the NC Can Count On Me website for more information!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One stop shop for Federal data needs?? was just released today by the Federal CIO Council as an interagency Federal initiative. The goal of this new data portal and searchable catalog is to increase access to the myriad of datasets released by the Executive Branch. Although they are starting out with a very limited number of datasets in the catalog, they welcome suggestions for additions and hope to keep the collection growing. You can search for raw data or data extraction tools and widgets by keywords, categories of information, specific formats, and by specific agencies. They include geospatial datasets with KML, KMZ and ESRI Shapefile formats. Check out their tutorial for assistance using. Happy data searching!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Addition to the IPUMS International project

Just in from IPUMS: The IPUMS-International project has recently added 19 samples to the data series, bringing the total number of samples to 130. The recently added samples include data for nine new countries: Armenia, Bolivia, Guinea, India, Italy, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Slovenia. In addition, we have extended the existing series of samples for France, Romania and South Africa. The new data release also includes GIS boundary files for mapping countries and major administrative divisions within countries.

The full content of the data series is summarized here:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Multi-record and Hierarchical Set-up Files for ICPSR studies in SPSS

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
Space is limited.

This webinar will discuss the similarities and differences between multi-record and hierarchical set-up files for ICPSR studies. Codebooks for ICPSR studies will be reviewed to illustrate the similarities and differences of the set-up files being discussed. We will create a multi-record set-up file and consider the obstacles in creating a hierarchical one. This webinar is open to the public - please forward this invitation to all who might be interested.

Title: Multi-record and Hierarchical Set-up Files for ICPSR studies in SPSS
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Time: 1:00 AM - 2:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New webinar available from ICPSR

When Setup Files Go Bad. Debugging your SAS, SPSS, and STATA code so it works!

Join us for a Webinar on April 28. Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now.

You found your download your run the setup file ICPSR provides...and the screen fills with errors. This webinar will address common problems in the setup files provided by ICPSR for data files. Because most of ICPSR's data processing is automated and the volume of data files is large and very heterogeneous in quality, size, and characteristics, the setup files and "ready-to-go" files do not always work perfectly. This webinar will help you to anticipate and fix many of these common problems.

Title: ICPSR Webinar: When Setup Files Go Bad. Debugging your SAS, SPSS, and STATA code so it works!
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

American Time Use

The Maryland Population Research Center and the Minnesota Population Center are pleased to announce the release of the American Time Use Survey Data Extract Builder (ATUS-X). ATUS-X is designed to make it easy for researchers to work with data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). Interested researchers can explore the ATUS Data Extract Builder at

The central goal of the ATUS-X project is to make it easy for researchers to prepare ATUS data files that are ready for analysis. The current version of the ATUS Data Extract Builder allows researchers to:

  • Extract data from 2003-2007, including the 2006 Eating and Health Module.
  • Create measures of time in user-defined activity aggregations, broken out as desired by time of the day, by location and by whether the respondent was engaged in caring for children during the activity.
  • Select personal and household characteristic variables for inclusion
    on the data extract.
  • ATUS-X also provides researchers with accessible and comprehensive

Monday, March 2, 2009

The World and Beer

Featured Database: Euromonitor Global Market Information Database (GMID)

Do you want to know which beer company has the largest market share in Slovakia? Then Euromonitor GMID is the right tool for you! Euromonitor GMID is UNCG’s main database for international marketing data and reports. The database contains several types of information sources:
  • Statistics: Includes market size data for 52 countries and hundreds of consumer products and economic and demographic statistics for 205 countries.
  • Market Reports: Global and national market reports analyzing industry market performance.
  • Company Profiles: Extensive profiles of individual companies and their market performances.
  • Country Profiles: Basic industry information and statistical summaries for 205 countries.
  • Comments: Include daily commentary on a wide variety of topics.
The information is also well integrated. If you search for a specific report you will see related reports, company profiles, and statistics on the right side of the screen. You can also browse the newest reports or search any portion of the database.

Users can download data and create profiles to save searches. If you will be using this database frequently, I would encourage you to create a profile as it will save you quite a bit of time.

And the answer is Heineken.

Click on the bottom right of the video for full screen. Text of the video is below:

Hi! My name is lynda and I’m going to show you how to get started using Euromonitor’s Global Market Information Database. It is UNCG’s primary database for international marketing research. You can search by Industries, Countries, or Companies. We are going to look at the consumer market for footwear. First, I’ll click on Consumer Markets under Search Industries.

You will see a screen with the available consumer markets. I will choose the plus sign next to Clothing and Footwear to expand that category and then I will expand the category of Footwear. I am interested in men’s and women’s footwear, so I will check those two boxes. Then click Next at the bottom of the screen.

Now you have a chance to choose your countries. I am interested in France, so I’ll expand the Western Europe category and click the box next to France. You can choose more than one country at a time. Now at the bottom of the screen you will see Run Search. This means you have chosen all available information. Click on Run Search.

You will see two categories of information: Statistics and Reports. Reports are narrative reports on various aspects of your country or the consumer market chosen.
I just want to see Statistics for footwear in France, so I will click on View All Statistics.

Here are the market sizes for women’s and men’s footwear in France. You can convert the statistics, manipulate the ordering of the data, and download into excel format.

Happy hunting and remember if you have questions, “Ask Us!”

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ICPSR Webinar: Get Set-Up! - Creating set-up files for SPSS

Join us for a Webinar on January 27

Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Does the idea of dealing with raw data give you a headache? This webinar is a step-by-step demonstration of how to create a set-up file for an ICPSR study. You will learn how to begin with an ASCII data file and transform it into a file that’s ready to use in SPSS. We will create a simple set-up file for a dataset . We will consider important issues in creating a set-up file, make decisions about how to proceed when faced with challenges, and explore alternatives if appropriate. This webinar describes the necessary parts of a simple set-up file and where to find the needed information in the study’s codebook. This webinar is open to the public. Please share this invitation with all those interested.

ICPSR Webinar: Get Set-Up! - Creating set-up files for SPSS
Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Calling all General Social Survey Users! We want you!

Are you a regular user of the NORC General Social Survey? If you said "Of course!", then we have a survey for you!

The Center for Research Libraries in Chicago is seeking people who are willing to give feedback on the GSS. Their goal is to understand the long term success of certain data sets in order to understand the best practices for tomorrow’s digital repositories. All users of the GSS are welcome (faculty, students, librarians, researchers, etc.). If you're willing to participate, please contact Marie Waltz at If you have colleagues or students who use it and you think might be willing to participate, please let them know!

If you aren't a GSS user and would like to learn more, please contact Lynda at
Thanks to Michele Hayslett at NCSU for the info!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009