Command Line Interface

ipumspy allows you to interact with the IPUMS API via the command line. If you have installed with pip, then you should have an ipums command available on the command line.

You can explore what commands are available by running the --help option:

ipums --help

In particular, suppose that you have specified an extract in an ipums.yml file as described in the getting started guide.

description: Simple IPUMS extract
collection: usa
api_version: beta
samples:
  - us2012b
variables:
  - AGE
  - SEX

Then you can submit, wait for, and download the extract in a single line:

ipums submit-and-download -k <IPUMS_API_KEY> ipums.yml

Much of the rest of the functionality of the library is also available on the command line, as this document describes.

Environment Variables

For security, it is recommended that you not pass your API key directly on the command line. The ipums command will look for your API key in the IPUMS_API_KEY environment variable.

Specifying Multiple Extracts

You may create mutliple files specifying extracts. For instance, in addition to the ipums.yml described above, you might also have a file called ipums_with_race.yml which contains the following:

description: Another extract
collection: usa
api_version: beta
samples:
  - us2012b
variables:
  - AGE
  - SEX
  - RACE

Then the following command would submit and download this extract:

ipums submit-and-download -k <IPUMS_API_KEY> ipums_with_race.yml

Alternatively, the submit-and-download command also allows you to specify multiple extracts simultaneously. To do so, specify the ipums_multiple.yml file as follows:

extracts:
- description: Simple IPUMS extract
  collection: usa
  api_version: beta
  samples:
    - us2012b
  variables:
    - AGE
    - SEX
- description: Another extract
  collection: usa
  api_version: beta
  samples:
    - us2012b
  variables:
    - AGE
    - SEX
    - RACE

Note that this specifies a dictionary with one key (extracts) whose value is a list of extract specifications. Then you can submit and download these extracts with the command:

ipums submit-and-download -k <IPUMS_API_KEY> ipums_multiple.yml

Step-by-Step

The introduction provided an all-in-one command submit-and-download that submits, waits for, and downloads and IPUMS extract. But sometimes you may wish to break up the steps (e.g., you want to redownload an extract that has already been prepared). This functionlaity is available via the submit, check, and download commands:

ipums submit -k <IPUMS_API_KEY> ipums.yml
# Your extract for collection usa has been successfully submitted with number 10

ipums check -k <IPUMS_API_KEY> 10
# Extract 10 in collection usa has status started

# "started" means that your extract has been queued
# You should wait until the status is "completed"
ipums check -k <IPUMS_API_KEY> 10
# Extract 10 in collection usa has status completed

ipums download -k <IPUMS_API_KEY> 10

Extra options

These commands provide several extra options, which may be found by running any command with the --help option, for example:

ipums submit --help

Here we enumerate a few for reference:

  • -k: For commands that require your API key, this is used to specify the API key. In every case, you can also specify your key via the IPUMS_API_KEY environment variable.

  • -o: For commands that download an extract, this may be used to specify which directory the extract will be downloaded to. The default is always the current directory.

Parquet

For repeated use of a data set, we encourage you to store the data set as parquet. This will greatly facilitate loading the data into memory or working with tools like dask. We’ve provided a convenient command line tool for this conversion.

Suppose you’ve downloaded an extract into usa_00006.dat whose DDI is specified in usa_00006.xml. Then you can convert this to a parquet file called usa_00006.parquet as follows:

ipums convert usa_00006.xml usa_00006.dat usa_00006.parquet

Once you have the parquet file in hand, you can load it the same way you would any other IPUMS file:

import ipumspy

ddi = ipumspy.read_ipums_ddi(ddi_file)
ipums_df = ipumspy.read_microdata(ddi, "usa_00006.parquet")