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Balancing Disclosure Risk with Data Quality

Asoka Ramanayake and Laura Zayatz



As the leading source of data about the nation’s people and the economy, the Census Bureau’s mission is to provide high quality data while honoring the privacy and protecting the confidentiality of its survey respondents. Legal mandates aside, the Census Bureau needs to maintain the trust of the nation without which it will not be able to gather quality data and achieve high response rates. Thus the Census Bureau applies disclosure avoidance techniques to its data products prior to public release in order to protect the confidentiality of its survey respondents. This paper discusses three disclosure avoidance techniques that are currently used: cell suppression, data swapping and synthetic data.


Disclosure Avoidance, Data Dissemination, Confidentiality


Ramanayake, Asoka and Laura Zayatz. (2010). Balancing Disclosure Risk with Data Quality. Statistical Research Division Research Report Series (Statistics #2010-04). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <>.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Published online: February 22, 2010
Last revised: January 28, 2010


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010