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IPUMS International: A review and future prospects of a unique global statistical cooperation programme

Abstract

At the invitation of the University of Minnesota Population Center (MPC) the author carried out an assessment of the IPUMS International integrated census microdata programme during January-March 2016. The terms of reference included the assessment of the measures taken by the MPC to safe guard the security of the microdata, the quality and adequacy of services provided, characteristics of users and satisfaction with IPUMS, use of available microdata, support to participating developing country National Statistical Offices (NSOs) and adequacy of a proposed Remote Data Center (RDC).

The conclusions of the review are that IPUMS International is a unique, flexible, successful and secure programme for managing access to anonymized, harmonised and integrated microdata to academic users and policy makers. While currently the user base is predominantly in developed countries, steps are being taken to expand usage by researchers world-wide. The physical, methodological and technical arrangements for safeguarding the security and confidentiality of the data files are excellent; the possibilities of breaches are minimal. Data users have very positive opinions of the quality of the data, scope of services and expertise of staff but desire more detailed, up-to-date microdata. NSOs rate IPUMS International and its services positively but request advanced methodological training for staff and regular information on the use of their country's data. IPUMS International planned activities are presented and their contributions to census methodology are highlighted.

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