Steven Ruggles is Regents Professor of History and Population Studies at the University of Minnesota, and the Director of the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation. He is best known as the creator of IPUMS, the world's largest population database. IPUMS provides information about two billion people residing in 107 countries between 1703 and 2017, including every respondent to the surviving U.S. censuses of 1790 to 1940. He served as founding Director of the Minnesota Population Center from 2000 to 2016. He served as the 2015 President of the Population Association of America, the first historian to hold the position. He also served as President of the Association of Population Centers (2017-2018) and President of the Social Science History Association (2018-2019). He has been active on many national advisory and study committees, including the Census Bureau Scientific Advisory Committee; the National Science Foundation Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Advisory Committee; the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for CyberInfrastructure; and the National Academy of Sciences Board on Research Data and Information.
Ruggles received a Ph.D in historical demography from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. He has published extensively on historical demography, focusing especially on long-run changes in multi-generational families, single parenthood, divorce, and marriage, and on data and methods for population history. His study of the effects of demographic change on family structure won the William J. Goode Book Award from the American Sociological Association and the Allen Sharlen Memorial Award from the Social Science History Association. Ruggles's work on migration censoring in family reconstitution stimulated a debate about biases introduced by the "Ruggles Effect."
In 2003, Ruggles received the Robert J. Lapham Award from the Population Association of America in recognition of lifetime contributions that blend research with the application of demographic knowledge to policy issues, and in 2009 he received the Warren E. Miller Award from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research for meritorious service to the social sciences. In 1995, Ruggles was described as the "King of Quant" by Wired Magazine, and in 2014, he was named “Wonkblog-Certified Data Wizard” by the Washington Post Wonkblog.
In 1994, Ruggles married Lisa Norling, another historian. They have two daughters.
- Ruggles, Steven (1987). Prolonged Connections: The Rise of the Extended Family in Nineteenth-Century England and America. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. xx, 282. ISBN 0-299-11030-3.
- Ruggles, Steven. Historical Census Record Linkage. Annual Review of Sociology vol. 44 (2018), pp. 19–37
- Ruggles, Steven. Patriarchy, Power, and Pay: The Transformation of American Families, 1800–2015. Demography, vol. 52 (2015), pp. 1797-1823
- Ruggles, Steven. Big Microdata for Population Research. Demography, vol. 51 (2014), pp. 287-297
- Kennedy, Sheela and Steven Ruggles. Breaking up is Hard to Count: The Rise of Divorce in the United States, 1980–2010.Demography, vol. 51 (2014), pp. 587–598
- Ruggles, Steven. The Future of Historical Family Demography. Annual Review of Sociology vol. 38 (2012), pp. 423–441
- Ruggles, Steven. Stem families and joint families in comparative historical perspective. Population and Development Review, vol. 36 (2010), pp. 563–577
- Ruggles, Steven. Reconsidering the Northwest European Family System. Population and Development Review, vol. 35 (2009), pp. 321–332
- Ruggles, Steven. The Decline of Intergenerational Coresidence in the United States, 1850 to 2000. American Sociological Review, vol. 72 (2007), pp. 962–989
- Patricia Kelly Hall and Steven Ruggles. 'Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity': New Evidence on the Internal Migration of Americans, 1850–2000. Journal of American History, vol. 91 (2004), pp. 829–846
- Ruggles, Steven and Susan Brower. Measurement of Household and Family Composition in the United States, 1850–2000. Population and Development Review, vol. 29 (2003), pp. 73–101
- Fitch, Catherine and Steven Ruggles. Historical Trends in Marriage Formation. In Linda Waite and Christine Bachrach, eds. (2000). The Ties that Bind: Perspectives on Marriage and Cohabitation. New York: Aldine de Gruyter pp. 59-88.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
- Ruggles, Steven. The Rise of Divorce and Separation in the United States, 1880-1990. Demography, vol. 34 (1997), pp. 962–989
- Ruggles, Steven. The Transformation of American Family Structure. American Historical Review, vol. 99 (1994), pp. 103–128
- Ruggles, Steven. The Origins of African-American Family Structure. American Sociological Review, vol. 59 (1994), pp. 136–151
- Ruggles, Steven. Confessions of a Microsimulator: Problems in Modeling the Demography of Kinship. Historical Methods, vol. 26 (1993), pp. 161–169
- Ruggles, Steven. Migration, Marriage, and Mortality: Correcting Sources of Bias in English Family Reconstitutions. Population Studies, vol. 46 (1992), pp. 507–522
- Norling, Lisa (June 22, 2014). "Steve Ruggles to Head the Population Association of America". College of Liberal Arts. University of Minnesota. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- University of Minnesota (2010-06-03). "Steven Ruggles: College of Liberal Arts: U of M". Apps.cla.umn.edu. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- Steven Ruggles (1987). Prolonged Connections: The Rise of the Extended Family in Nineteenth Century England and America (PDF). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-11034-6.
- Steven Ruggles, "Migration, Marriage, and Mortality: Correcting Sources of Bias in English Family Reconstitutions," Population Studies vol. 46 (1992) pp. 507-522
- E.A. Wrigley, "The Effect of Migration on the Estimation of Marriage Age in Family Reconstitution Studies," Population Studies vol. 48 (1994) pp. 81-97; Alice Bee Kasakoff and John W. Adams, “The Effect of migration on Ages at Vital Events: A Critique of Family Reconstitution in Historical Demography” European Journal of Population 11 (1995), pp. 199-242; B. Desjardins, “Bias in Age at Marriage in Family Reconstitutions: Evidence from French-Canadian data.” Population Studies 49 (1995) 165–169; E. Voland and R.I.M. Dunbar, “The Impact of Social Status and Migration on Female Age at Marriage in an Historical Population in North-West Germany.” Journal of Biosocial Science 29(1997), pp. 355-360; Steven Ruggles “The Limitations of English Family Reconstitution.” Continuity and Change 14 (1999) 105-130; M. A. Jonker and A. W. van der Vaart, “Correcting Missing-Data Bias in Historical Demography” Population Studies vol. 61 (2007) pp. 99-114
- "Robert J. Lapham Award - Population Association of America". Popassoc.org. Archived from the original on 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- "Warren E. Miller Award". icpsr.umich.edu. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- Rettig, Hillary. "The King of Quant". Wired.com. Retrieved 2011-12-23.