This collaboration between the Minnesota Population Center and the Census Bureau has two goals: 1) During the past four years, the Census Bureau has devoted significant effort to recovering machine-readable data from the long forms of the 1960 through 1980 Censuses of Population and Housing. Data from 1970 and 1980 were successfully verified and converted to modern formats. The 1960 dataset, however, could not be completely retrieved;information from some parts of the country was lost. Fortunately, the missing records survive on microfilm and can be recovered using cost-effective scanning technology. The complete long-form data for the entire country will be a unique data resource for researchers, but these data are even more important for their potential to create new nationally-representative public-use data products. The 1960 census is presently the weak link in the series of public use microdata datasets spanning the twentieth century, and new files are urgently needed. The small size and limited geography in the existing 1960 public use microdata sample precludes analysis of cities or metropolitan areas and makes multi-level analysis impossible. The case for new small-area summary data is equally compelling. The existing summary files are missing many important tabulations that are consistently available for all censuses from 1970 onward, and the tables for 1960 census tracts do not distinguish any racial groups except for whites. Long-form data from 1960 Census of Population and Housing represent an unexploited trove of information about the American population. Used in conjunction with data from more recent censuses, rich new datasets from 1960 have the potential to help us understand the social, economic, and demographic changes that are transforming our lives. These new data products will significantly improve the nation's statistical infrastructure, allowing powerful new analyses of changes in population and health-related behavior. This work is directly relevant to the central mission of the NIH as the steward of medical and behavioral research for the nation: the new data will advance fundamental knowledge about the nature of human population dynamics. The 1960 data will advance health-related research on population growth and movement, fertility, mortality, and nuptiality, as well as the .economic and social correlates of demographic behavior.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section (SSPS)
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Bures, Regina M
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Ruggles, Steven (2014) Big microdata for population research. Demography 51:287-97
Ruggles, Steven; Schroeder, Matthew; Rivers, Natasha et al. (2011) Frozen Film and FOSDIC Forms: Restoring the 1960 U.S. Census of Population and Housing. Hist Methods 44:69-78
Sobek, Matthew; Cleveland, Lara; Flood, Sarah et al. (2011) Big Data: Large-Scale Historical Infrastructure from the Minnesota Population Center. Hist Methods 44:61-68