Summer 2020 Projects


Developing and Visualizing New Types of U.S. Census Mapping Data
Staff mentor: Jonathan Schroeder
Faculty mentor: Ying Song

Fellows will work with Dr. Song and Dr. Schroeder to develop new mapping data products and craft online visualizations that use the new data to illustrate interesting features of U.S. population. The new data will add to the existing collection of IPUMS NHGIS, which includes GIS mapping files for U.S. census geography (counties, census tracts, etc.) from 1790 to the present. We are interested in adding several new types of data: water bodies, roads, centers of population, generalized boundaries (providing less detail than our existing data), and/or line data for boundaries and coastlines (to complement our existing polygon data). You will derive the new data from original Census Bureau sources using GIS tools. You will help to identify interesting subjects for visualizations that combine the new mapping data with census summary data (e.g., changes in neighborhood race and ethnicity throughout the U.S., etc.). You will generate the visualizations and integrate them into a blog post on the IPUMS website.

International Census Geography
Staff mentor: Tracy Kugler
Faculty mentor: Steve Manson

Fellows will work with Dr. Kugler and Dr. Manson to prepare geographic data on administrative and statistical unit boundaries to complement data tables from international population and agricultural censuses. The new IPUMS IHGIS (International Historical Geographic Information System) project is assembling, processing, and documenting tabular data from census results documents from over 100 countries. These data tables describe population and agricultural characteristics of geographic units. To enable users to map and conduct spatial analysis using the data, we must assemble geographic data defining the boundaries of units described in the data tables. Fellows will use and extend workflows and tools developed by IPUMS Terra and IPUMS International to edit shapefiles and link them to tabular data. A particular area of focus will be units finer than the second administrative level. (In the U.S., counties are the second administrative level.)

Mass Probation in the U.S.: Understanding Supervision’s Impact on Wellbeing
Faculty mentor: Michelle Phelps

Fellows will work with Dr. Phelps to examine the effect of supervision on wellbeing. Over the past two decades, scholars, policymakers have become increasingly aware of the harms of mass incarceration and the challenges facing adults returning to communities from prison. Yet mass probation rates are higher, with one in 68 adults under supervision in 2016. Dr. Phelps recently completed one of the largest studies of adults on probation ever conducted in the U.S., interviewing 170 adults currently on probation in Hennepin County, MN, in 2019. The students’ primary responsibility would be to assist in the data linkage process with administrative records and to analyze our mixed-methods interview data. The goal of this project is to develop preliminary results that could be shaped into articles for submission to academic journals.

Who benefitted the most: Epidemiological Transition in the United States, 1900-1950
Staff mentor: Dave Van Riper
Faculty mentor: Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

Infectious mortality declined dramatically during the first decades of the twentieth century. This decline transformed death from a common experience that was unpredictable to one that occurs predictably late in life. Fellows will work with Dr. Wrigley-Field and Mr. Van Riper to examine the relationship between race and mortality in the first half of the 19th century. Dr. Wrigley-Field’s current research shows that mortality disparities between white and non-white populations. However, during this time the concept of “white” was different as people of Italian, Irish and Polish descents were considered non-white. Students will examine if there was a mortality penalty associated with stigmatized immigrant populations. Students will use image recognition software to digitize mortality record data. Students will use statistical software to link and compare historic records with US Vital states. Students will pioneer the development of reproducible workflows and work closely with mentors to develop materials suitable for publication.