What are Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (RDCs)?

  • Secure computing labs where qualified researchers conduct approved statistical analysis on non-public data.
  • These data are collected by various government agencies (Census Bureau, AHRQ, BLS, SSA, etc.).
  • Established through an agreement between federal statistical agencies and a local research community.
  • Managed by the Census Bureau.

Types of Restricted Data Available

  • Economic Data: Microdata on firms and establishments
  • Demographic Data: Microdata on individuals and households
  • Employer-Employee Linked Data: Data on employees linked with data on employers
  • Health Data
  • National Center for Health Statistics
  • Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Data
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis Data How to Access the RDC

How to Access the RDC

  • Develop proposal
  • Different guidelines for Census data vs. NCHS/AHRQ/BLS/BEA guidelines
  • Submit proposal for agency review
  • Obtain Special Sworn Status (SSS) Security clearance
  • Swear to protect respondent confidentiality for life
  • Residency requirement for foreign nationals (3 years out of last 5 years)
  • May need to pay fees to other agencies and/or the local RDC

Advantages of Restricted Data

  • Economic datasets that are not publicly available at the micro level
  • More detailed level of geographic identifiers
  • Much less top-coding
  • Restricted variables (e.g., birthdate)Census datasets can be linked together and to external data

Nuts and Bolts of RDC Research

  • Research conducted on-site
  • Statistical software available: SAS, Stata, R, Matlab, etc.
  • Physically secure location, restricted area with badge access
  • No internet, phones, or laptops allowed in lab
  • No paper or output allowed outside of lab
  • Disclosure avoidance review required to present results
  • Discussion of specific results allowed only inside RDC (even among co-authors)

For more information: https://www.census.gov/fsrdc