The Census Bureau makes extensive use of administrative data to produce statistics about the U.S. population and economy. Doing so is part of our legal mandate. By law, the census must use existing information “to the maximum extent possible” to reduce direct inquiries, thereby saving money and reducing burden.
Our use of external data depends on our ability to link and integrate across sources including census and survey data. By integrating external data, we can increase the scope and depth of statistics and analyses. Linked Census Bureau data allow analysts to evaluate existing programs and proposed policies, and to investigate changing demographic, economic, and social conditions. The Census Bureau has been leveraging external data sources since the 1940s.
The Census Bureau is expanding its linkage infrastructure to improve administrative data access for evaluators and policy analysts. We are expediting the acquisition of federal and federally-sponsored administrative data sources, improving data documentation and linkage techniques, and leveraging existing systems for governance, privacy protection, and secure access to these data.
These activities align with the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, which will improve how data are used to generate evidence about policies and programs in the federal government.