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How do I access and use data?

Data Discovery

How do I access and use data?

Information about restricted-use administrative, Census Bureau, and other Federal agency data available to external researchers working at Federal Statistical Research Data Centers can be found in the Metadata Catalog portion of the new Standard Application Process (SAP).

Give Us Data

Researchers are encouraged to bring in new datasets as part of their project. Data acquisitions may be included as part of a project agreement.

Data Access and Use

How do I get started?

If you are interested in a program evaluation project with restricted-use Census and administrative data that would be managed by the Center for Economic Studies, submit a proposal to your local Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC). Proposal guidelines can be found on the FSRDC apply for access to restricted-use data page.

Once my proposal is approved, how do I access the data?

Can We Link?

All data users must obtain Special Sworn Status. Users must take annual Data Stewardship Training, any training required by other data owners, such as Title 26/Federal Tax Information (FTI) training, and adhere to relevant ethics, confidentiality, and privacy protection procedures.

The Census Bureau then provides access within a secure computing environment, most commonly at one of the Federal Statistical Data Research Centers (FSRDCs), but remote access may be allowed in some cases. Use of an FSRDC or other mode may incur a charge. Users can access read-only, de-identified versions of approved files, and they conduct all work within a project-level workspace shared by the approved researchers. All analysis of microdata must take place in this computing environment.

Disclosure Review: How do I bring out my analytical results?

When researchers need to remove aggregated output, tables, or model coefficients from the secure environment, the output must be reviewed for disclosure to ensure that no individual or business information is revealed and that output is consistent with the original proposal. The Census Bureau will also facilitate disclosure review by all relevant data owners. Once the results pass disclosure review, disclosed output is provided to the research team outside of the secure computing environment, usually via email. The research team can then produce reports, presentations, and other products outside of the secure environment.

Depending on the terms of the data provider’s agreement with the Census Bureau, these products may also go through a final review by the data-providing agency or Census Bureau team member to confirm that final products are consistent with the original proposed project.

Page Last Revised - February 22, 2023
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