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American Opportunity Study (AOS)

The American Opportunity Study (AOS) is a collaborative project to extend the Census Bureau’s linked data infrastructure backwards in time to enable new research on social and economic mobility. The AOS-Census team is carrying out a large-scale pilot to determine the feasibility of appending consistent linkage identifiers, referred to as Protected Identification Keys (PIKs), to the 1990 Census. This effort is particularly challenging because the successful linkage requires the extraction of individual names from the 1990 Census microfilm reels, by creating digital images and conducting Optical Character Recognition. The 1990 project is underway, and the team is exploring options for extending similar methods to the censuses of 1960-1980. If the projects are successful, the 1960-1990 Census will become available to researchers as part of the broader CLIP infrastructure, and will be used by AOS team to investigate intergenerational mobility. The AOS is a joint effort between the Census Bureau, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, and researchers at Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin.

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