Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Bureau of the Census
The Center for Economic Studies (CES) is a research unit of
the Office of the Chief Economist, U.S. Bureau of the
Census, established to encourage and support the analytic
needs of researchers and policy makers throughout
government, academia, and business. The CES developed and
administers the Research Data Center (RDC) program. See the
CES webpage for information about the program and for
essential information about criteria for accessing the data
and procedures for submitting proposals.
The MCRDC is located in Room 106 of the Institute for Social
Research, a secure physical location certified by the Census
Bureau. A full time Census Bureau employee (RDC
administrator) is employed on site to oversee daily
operations and the research process.
The facility at the University of Michigan has eight
workstations for researchers, individual lockers, a
conference room, and an office for the RDC administrator.
The computing environment allows the RDC administrator and
individual researchers to login via a remote server to the
Census Bureau Computing Center in Bowie, Maryland where all
data and programs reside. The computing architecture
provides users with the ability to access confidential data
in read-only files and perform research, while maintaining
the integrity of confidential data in a secure facility.
Security and Confidentiality
Access to the RDC is restricted to Census Bureau employees
or researchers who have Special Sworn Status (SSS) with the
Census Bureau, in accordance with Title 13 U.SC., Section
23(c). The MCRDC assists researchers with approved projects
in obtaining SSS. Those obtaining SSS must pass a security
clearance and must sign and make a sworn statement about
preserving the confidentiality of the data. Individuals
with SSS have the same obligations to protect the
confidentiality of data as Census Bureau employees and are
subject to administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions for
breach of confidentiality.
A Census Bureau employee (RDC administrator) is assigned to
the MCRDC. The RDC Administrator provides guidance on using
the data and directs researchers to the relevant people at
the Census Bureau’s Center for Economic Studies. The most
important role the RDC Administrator plays is to provide
guidance to the researchers regarding confidentiality
restrictions. By working closely with the researchers and
becoming familiar with the details of the research projects,
the RDC Administrator will ensure researchers understand the
Census Bureau’s and the Institute for Social Research’s
“culture of confidentiality.”
Results of all research on the MCRDC are subject to
disclosure review by the Census Bureau to assure that they
do not reveal any confidential information. Once they have
passed this review, they results of the research may be
released to the public and published.
The MCRDC facility offers a secure location for sensitive
work. The basement location provides a secure environment
within the already secure Institute for Social Research
facility. The RDC contains no windows, maintains only one
point of entry, a key code and card swipe to gain access,
motion detectors and alarms, GSA-approved filing cabinet and
paper shredder, and a surveillance camera. Researchers have
no access to the internet or the world wide web while
working in the facility.
Projects are charged a laboratory fee to cover the costs of
use of the MCRDC. Researchers from units of the University
of Michigan that have purchased seats at the MCRDC may be
eligible for a waiver of fees. Researchers from
ICPSR-affiliated institutions may be eligible to for a
waiver of fees if they qualify for the ICPSR "seat."
Prospective researchers should contact the MCRDC for
information about fees.
Brochure for the MCRDC