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Urban Economics:Theory & Policy 3250 487: ICPSR

Prerequisite: 200 and 201 or 244 or permission of instructor. Analysis of urban issues from an economic perspective. Emphasis on urban growth, land-use patterns, housing, income distribution, poverty and urban fiscal policy.

What is ICPSR?

ICPSR, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, is a unit within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. It consists of some 740 member colleges, universities, and other research institutions. ICPSR maintains and provides access to a vast archive of social science data for research and instruction (over 8,000 discrete studies/surveys with more than 65,000 datasets). As a member of (ICPSR) UA students, faculty, and staff have access to more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences.

ICPSR Tutorials and FAQ's

Although ICPSR is a complex database, there are numerous  Video Tutorials and a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you get started. There is also a searchable video tutorial archive for more advanced questions. If you take the time to learn from these tutorials, you should be able to navigate the database.

Starting with the Find Data portal, search by keyword or browse by topic. Before you download datasets, you must read and agree to the terms of use.


  • Some datasets are freely accessible, and can be simply downloaded in an available format, which may include plain text, SAS, SPSS, and Stata. Not all files are available in all formats.
  • Some datasets require access through the institutional membership. Users accessing ICPSR from the UA main campus will be automatically recognized; off-campus users should use the UA proxy link for ICPSR. Once authenticated, create a MyData account or sign in with a Google or Facebook account.
  • Certain datasets are restricted in order to protect respondent confidentiality. This information is detailed in the "Access" section for the dataset. Typically, ICPSR requires a research application and proof of local IRB approval for the project.
  • All datasets are accompanied by codebooks and other supporting documentation. Review these carefully to ensure proper interpretation of the data.
  • ICPRS can also be searched through the Harvard University IQSS (Institute for Quantitative Social Science Dataverse platform.


Viewing Data with SDA

Some ICPSR datasets can now be viewed instantly using SDA: Survey Documentation and Analysis. An excellent introduction to using SDA is available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA), and a full video webinar (with a demonstration starting at 12:55) is available from ICPSR. 

Use the data search filters to create a list of all ICPSR datasets available in SDA.

Additional Resources for Data Users

Citing Datasets

Like all resources, datasets should be cited whenever they are used in a publication, paper, presentation, or assignment. Here are some guides to citing data: