2004 Summer Workshop: Analyzing Poverty and Welfare Trends Using Census 2000

Date & time

Jun 14, 2004-May 25, 2024, 12:00-9:32 am EDT


Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Ann Arbor, MI
This workshop largely replicated last year's successful course. Read about the 2003 Summer Workshop, including participant comments.

Participants were provided with training in the use of the 1% and 5% Public Use Micro-sample from Census 2000 and other Census Bureau datasets so that they can better understand social and economic issues affecting low-income populations and carry out their own analyses.

The instructor for the workshop were Reynolds Farley, the Dudley Duncan Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan and Research Scientist at the Institute for Social Research. There were also be presentations by nationally recognized poverty researchers.

Selected participants received stipends to defray the costs of travel, lodging, and per diem.

* Familiarize participants with the concepts used by the Census Bureau and the way the Bureau codes and tabulates information, including the variety of measures of income, poverty, race, ethnicity, labor force status, and migration.

* Provide hands-on demonstrations with user-friendly software that allows anyone with access to the Internet to easily tabulate data from Census Bureau micro-data and obtain summary descriptive statistics such as means, standard errors, median and percentile points.

* Provide hands-on demonstrations with user-friendly software that allows anyone with access to the Internet to select and download observations and variables for use with standard statistical packages.

* Develop a project focused on their own interests and produce findings by the end of the workshop and an appropriate data array that can be used when the participant returns to her/his home institution.

* Provide opportunities for participants to discuss the current status of key research and policy issues regarding poverty with nationally recognized experts.

The workshop was held in Ann Arbor from June 14-18, 2004. Classes met for two and one-half hour sessions in a computer classroom each morning and afternoon.

Participants also heard presentations from University of Michigan scholars and those from other Universities whose research focuses on issues related to the causes and consequences of poverty and economic disadvantage. (The workshop coincided with a second NPC workshop, 'Poverty in America: Empirical Trends and Theoretical Explanations;' participants from both workshops attended afternoon presentations together.)

Participants analyzed, worked with, and extracted data from the following micro data files:

o The IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Microdata Sample) array that includes all short and long form data from the Census 1850 through Census 2000.

o PUMS (Public Use Microdata Sample) data arrays from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Census.

o CPS (Current Population Survey) files for recent years, especially a concatenated array that includes data from 1995 through 2002

o Microdata files from the American Community Survey including the Census 2000 Supplemental Survey

Each participant had the opportunity to complete a small and focused project while in Ann Arbor leading to a reasonably well-developed PowerPoint presentation on a topic such as the following:

* National Trends in Poverty among the Older Population: 1950 to 2000

* The Characteristics of Low Wage Workers in Metropolitan Detroit: 1940 to 2000

* Child Poverty in the Rural Midwest: 1950 to 2000

* The Earnings and Economic Status of Recent Immigrants: 1980 to 2000

* Racial Differences in the Receipt of Transfer Payments and Income from Investment

This workshop did not offer instruction in statistics or econometrics. The presentations covered the use of weighted data, tests of significance, analysis of variance models and both OLS and logistic regression models and participants might incorporate findings from such models in their presentations.

However, more advanced statistical models were not be covered. Participants may want to consider attending other summer courses offered in Ann Arbor by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research or by the Institute for Social Research.

Application instructions
Applications were accepted from faculty, postdoctoral fellows, advanced doctoral students, federal and state-level policy and research analysts, and others who would benefit from this course. Preference was given to applicants who do not have ready access to Census data or this kind of training at their home institution.

Funding for this workshop was provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and by the University of Michigan.