The Center for Economic Studies (CES) administers the Census Bureau's secure Research Data Centers (RDCs). CES and the RDCs improve measures of the economy and people of the United States through research and innovative data products.
RDCs facilitate and support microdata research that
Encourages knowledgeable researchers to become familiar with Census Bureau data products and Census Bureau collection methods in order to improve their utility and quality
Creates new products that leverage the value of data that has already been collected
Can address important policy questions without the need for additional data collections
RDC Research and the Census Bureau
RDC research is critical to the Census Bureau
The best way for the Census Bureau to check the quality of the data it collects, edits, and tabulates is to make its microdata records available in a controlled, secure environment to sophisticated users who, by employing the micro records in the course of rigorous analysis, will uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the micro records.
Each set of observations is the result of many decision rules covering definitions, classifications, coding procedures, processing rules, editing rules, disclosure rules, and so on. The validity and consequences of all these decision rules only become evident when the Census Bureau's micro databases are tested in the course of analysis.
What are Census Research Data Centers?
Census Research Data Centers (RDCs) are U.S. Census Bureau facilities, staffed by a Census Bureau employee, which meet all physical and computer security requirements for access to restricted–use data. At RDCs, qualified researchers with approved projects receive restricted access to selected non–public Census Bureau data files.
Interested in hosting a Research Data Center at your institution?
Please contact our Director of Research for information on physical security requirements, IT infrastructure costs, on-site staffing requirements, and procedures for opening a Research Data Center.
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