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Privacy & Confidentiality

Data Stewardship

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An enumerator conducts an interview during the
1950 Census of Population and Housing.

The U.S. Census Bureau's mission is to meet America's data needs by producing accurate, relevant statistics about the nation's economy and people. We recognize, however, that it is your information that we collect to produce these statistics, and that we are legally and morally obligated to protect your privacy and confidentiality.

  • The Census Bureau needs your response to its surveys and censuses to produce high quality statistics that are relevant and accurate.
  • Survey and census participants must be certain that their personal or business information will remain strictly confidential.

In short, a partnership of trust exists between you and the Census Bureau. We recognize that you have entrusted your information to us, and our highest priority is to maintain your trust.

The Census Bureau's approach to maintaining this trust is called Data Stewardship.

Data Stewardship is the formal process we use to care for your information (from the beginning (when you answer a survey) to the end (when we release statistical data products). Data Stewardship goes beyond the law to ensure that any decisions we make will fulfill our ethical obligations to respect your privacy and protect the confidentiality of your information.

  • The Census Bureau's mission statement states that "We honor privacy, protect confidentiality, share our expertise globally, and conduct our work openly."
  • Our privacy principles shape how we complete this mission throughout all of our activities.
  • A key strategic goal is to "Foster an environment that supports innovation, reduces respondent burden, and ensures individual privacy."
  • The Data Stewardship program ensures our ideals are put into action and requires accountability through the Data Stewardship Executive Policy Committee. This committee reviews key issues and sets policy concerning privacy, confidentiality, and data access.
  • Every survey and program at the Census Bureau must comply with Data Stewardship policies developed to protect your information at every step in the survey or program.

The Data Stewardship program ensures that we protect the information you provide, while enabling us to release high quality information about our population and the economy.

For more information about how the Census Bureau safeguards the data it collects, visit the agency's Data Protection and Privacy Policy Web Site.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: March 27, 2015