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The Census Bureau considers proposals from qualified researchers in social science disciplines consistent with the subject matter of the surveys and censuses collected by the Census Bureau. Proposals may be submitted at any time to ResearchDataGov. All researcher access to restricted–use data occurs at secure Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (FSRDC).

Proposed projects must:

  • Provide benefits to Census Bureau programs
  • Demonstrate scientific merit
  • Require non–public data
  • Be feasible given the data
  • Pose no risk of disclosure

Restricted-Use Data

The Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies maintains and enhances confidential Census Bureau microdata for use in social science research at FSRDCs.

Developing a Research Proposal

Before preparing your research proposal, consult

Submitting a Research Proposal

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 calls for a single application process for requesting access to federal statistical microdata for research purposes. On December 17, 2019, the ResearchDataGov portal was opened. ResearchDataGov provides a single portal for researchers to request access to FSRDC agencies’ restricted-use microdata. Requests will be routed to the appropriate data-sponsoring agency for further proposal development and consideration under agency-specific review processes. Over the next several years, ResearchDataGov will provide a standard application process for access to all federal statistical agency restricted-use microdata.

Related Information


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