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OVERVIEW (contd.)

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


Institute for Social Research
426 Thompson Street, Room 106
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
(734) 615-2535

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