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Secure RDC Research Environment

The secure RDC environment supports qualified researchers while protecting respondent confidentiality with state-of-the-art tools and processes.


RDC Research Support

  • Standard statistical, econometric, and programming software, including SAS®, Stata, Gauss, MATLAB, and R, in a Linux environment
  • Computing capacity to handle large datasets and complex calculations
  • Documentation – codebooks, data dictionaries, harmonized variables, etc. – for a growing number of datasets
  • Cross–RDC collaborations, including collaborations with Census Bureau researchers, are possible through the secure RDC computing environment

RDC Confidentiality Protections

RDC processes protect respondent confidentiality and comply with applicable legislation

  • Formal Census Bureau research project approval process, including any other agencies that sponsor or provide data for the project, assures projects potentially benefit the Census Bureau and fall within scope of permitted statistical purposes
  • RDC researchers must obtain Census Bureau Special Sworn Status – passing a background check and swearing to protect respondent confidentiality for life, facing significant financial and legal penalties for failure to do so
  • RDCs are Census Bureau facilities, housed in partner institutions, that meet all physical and information security requirements for access to restricted–use data of the Census Bureau and other agencies whose data are used in projects
  • Access to project–approved data only on equipment owned, controlled, and monitored by the Census Bureau
  • Presence of Census Bureau employee (RDC Administrator) at each RDC
  • Mandatory disclosure avoidance review of all research output before the Census Bureau makes it available for use outside Census Bureau facilities

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Center for Economic Studies | (301) 763-6460 | E-mail CES |  Last Revised: January 13, 2015