The Research Data Centers provide restricted access to non-public Census Bureau data in a secure research environment to qualified researchers for statistical purposes. Projects that can be completed with public use data are not appropriate for the RDCs. In addition, the RDCs are not appropriate for research projects whose output consists primarily of tabulations of data.
A wide range of data collected by the US Census Bureau are potentially available for research projects at the CCRDC. For a list of datasets currently available for use at the RDCs, please see the list provided by the Center for Economic Studies.
Economic data refer to the Economic Census of establishments and various surveys and data for establishments and firms. With few exceptions, public use versions of these files are limited to data presented in aggregate form. Click here for a full list of Economic datasets available, including information on the frequency of collection, the level of enumeration, and the years currently available in the RDCs.
Abigail Cooke and Thomas Kemeny
Anne Marie Knott
Bethany DeSalvo, Frank Limehouse and Shawn Klimek
Ron S. Jarmin and Javier Miranda
Demographic data refer to the Decennial Census and other surveys of individuals and households administered by the Census Bureau. Compared to their public-use counterparts, the non-public files include more detailed geographic information, generally to the block level for the Decennial Census and census tract level for surveys, as well as less restrictive top-coding. The non-public versions of surveys also contain all the individuals surveyed, rather than subsamples published in the public use microdata sets. PLEASE NOTE: individual identifiers such as name, address, and social security numbers are NOT included. In many cases, the additional information in these files allows researchers to perform innovative research. A full list of available files is found here.
Because of the availability of detailed tabulations and public use microdata sets of many of these censuses and surveys, it is particularly important for prospective researchers to make sure they cannot accomplish their research project using these public-use data.
Note: Use of these data files may result in significant disclosure risks. This is especially true for studies of small populations (even with the increased sample sizes that may be available), and even more if the project studies small populations classified by geography and by population characteristics such as age, race, or sex. Moreover, the addition of contextual data also may increase disclosure risks. Researchers should keep these risks in mind in writing their proposals. To reduce the disclosure risks, proposed research projects should emphasize models, not tabulations.
Yana Kucheva and Richard Sander
Carolyn A. Liebler and Marie DeRousse-Wu
The Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) project provides snapshots of several of the LEHD infrastructure data files to qualified researchers with approved projects in the RDCs. Information on these data can be found here. Because the LEHD is a joint project between the US Census Bureau and the US States, RDC projects requesting LEHD data require state review in addition to Census review. There are public-use data products available from the LEHD project, with more information available here.
Natarajan Balasubramanian and Mariko Sakakibara
Lars Vilhuber and Kevin McKinney
Projects at the RDCs have combined economic and demographic data or matched demographic data from different surveys and censuses based on geographic identifiers.
Combining Census Bureau Data with Non-Census Bureau Data
Researchers with outside data such as administrative records may seek to enrich the information available to them by linking their data with Census Bureau data files. The CCRDC supports this kind of data development and innovation. However, such projects are subject to additional scrutiny and the review process will require more time because it is necessary to assess carefully possible disclosure risks, to obtain any permissions required to use the outside data and link the data sets, and to assess the costs and feasibility of data set construction.
Kyle Herkenhoff, Gordon Phillips and Ethan Cohen-Cole
The US Census Bureau partners with two federal health agencies to make restricted data from those agencies available to qualified researchers through the Research Data Center (RDC) network. In all cases, researchers will still need to obtain Special Sworn Status in order to use these data at one of the Census RDCs.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Please see the AHRQ website for information on the non-public data available in the RDCs.
National Center for Health Statistics
Please see the NCHS website for information on the non-public data available in the RDCs.
Laura R. Wherry and Sarah Miller