Contact: Robert Bernstein
Public Information Office
The Center for Economic Studies at the U.S. Census Bureau, in partnership with a consortium of institutions including the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Georgia State University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has opened a research data center (RDC) laboratory in Atlanta. The center is located at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
RDCs are secure Census Bureau facilities where qualified researchers from academia, federal agencies and other institutions with approved projects conduct statistical analyses using unpublished Census Bureau demographic and economic microdata files for statistical purposes. These secure facilities are staffed by Census Bureau employees and meet stringent physical and computer security requirements.
“The Atlanta Census Research Data Center will allow the research community across the Southeast to conduct statistical analyses that otherwise would not be possible on a wide range of research projects in the social sciences,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “Making microdata records available in a controlled, secure environment to sophisticated users will uncover the strengths and weaknesses of these records, thereby providing us with the best way to check the quality of the data we collect, edit and tabulate.”
In order to conduct research in an RDC, researchers must submit proposals to the Census Bureau for approval. The review process ensures that proposed research is feasible, has scientific merit and benefits Census Bureau programs. In addition, RDC operating procedures, strict security and strong legal safeguards assure the confidentiality of these data as required by law. Researchers, for instance, must pass a full background investigation and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data they access, with violations subject to significant financial and legal penalties.
The Atlanta Census Research Data Center joins similar centers that have been established in Boston; Berkeley, Calif.; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York; Ithaca, N.Y.; Durham, N.C.; and Minneapolis. The center at Berkeley has a branch at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., while the center at Durham has recently opened a branch at Research Triangle Park, N.C.
For information about the Center for Economic Studies and its research data center program, visit its website at <http://www.ces.census.gov>.