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New Directions in Disclosure Limitation at the Census Bureau

Laura Zayatz, Richard Moore, and B. Timothy Evans

KEY WORDS: confidentiality


The U.S. Bureau of the Census is in the business of collecting and disseminating data. The technological revolution of the 1980s and the accessibility of personal computing to the general public have fueled a rising demand for this data. This technology is allowing data users to handle increasingly large and detailed data sets and tabulations. Unfortunately, the more information the Bureau provides, the greater the possibility that a user can determine exact data values belonging to a particular respondent.

Title 13 requires that the Bureau ensure the confidentiality of data provided by all responding entities (individuals, households, and economic establishments). However, the Bureau's traditional disclosure limitation techniques cannot keep pace with the growing demand for an ever-wider variety of data products. As a result, we are unable to completely fill all requests. This paper gives an overview of some new disclosure limitation techniques under investigation at the Bureau, with respect to both microdata files and tabular data, that may facilitate broader dissemination of data.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010