The Network for Data-Intensive Research on Aging (NDIRA) will support an emerging interdisciplinary community of scientists using novel collections of cross-sectional, longitudinal, and contextual data for research on population aging. NDIRA will bring established scholars of aging together with scholars new to the field and introduce them to data that are fundamental to understanding health outcomes at older ages. By fostering communication and collaboration, as well as providing hands-on assistance in data management and analysis, we will contribute to both the talent pool and the data resource pool for addressing the demography and economics of aging.
LCC members have developed the world’s largest population data collections describing the characteristics of some three billion individuals in 2,000 censuses and surveys from over 100 countries. These data and other novel data infrastructure developed by LCC members are opening new opportunities for research on aging. Many of these new data sources pose significant challenges for researchers because of their large scale, complex structure, or restricted access. NDIRA is designed to mitigate these challenges and stimulate usage of novel data sources for research on aging. NDIRA will focus on three types of data that are currently available or in development:
- Integrated microdata from IPUMS: IPUMS USA (U.S. Census, American Community Survey), IPUMS CPS (Current Population Survey), IPUMS Health Surveys (National Health Interview Survey and Medical Expenditure Panel Study), IPUMS International (census and labor force surveys), IPUMS Global Health (Demographic and Health Surveys).
- Contextual data: U.S. small area statistics from IPUMS NHGIS; a new project disseminating small area statistics from around the world (IPUMS IHGIS); microdata-derived contextual measures to be developed from IPUMS International; environmental data available now from IPUMS DHS and planned for IPUMS International.
- Longitudinal data to study early life conditions: LCC members are leveraging the massive IPUMS USA full count collection of nearly 700 million individuals enumerated in the U.S. censuses of 1850 to 1940. These efforts include creating longitudinal and multi-generational panels and augmenting modern longitudinal surveys of aging with prospective information on early life conditions.
NDIRA has three main goals:
- Build community. We plan a range of activities to connect people both online and in-person (when that is safe again). We will arrange sessions and informal gatherings at annual academic conferences and other meetings. We will also host annual meetings, each including a research conference, to promote discussion of ongoing projects and collaborations across the Network. We will start with virtual events in Summer 2021.
- Lower barriers to using complex data. We will engage IPUMS users and researchers studying aging to determine high priority issues and data challenges. Network activities and resources will be devoted to addressing challenges by connecting scholars to share resources, preparing user guidances, and providing training opportunities through webinars and workshops.
- Engage new users and increase diversity. We will promote NDIRA to a broad spectrum of new users and provide support to a diverse set of interdisciplinary researchers. We will pay specific attention to recruiting early career scholars, scholars from underrepresented groups, and researchers outside R1 institutions.