Frequently Asked Questions

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What are research data centers?

Here are the typical questions we receive on this topic:

  • What are Census Research Data Centers (RDCs) and how many are there?
    • Census Research Data Centers (RDCs) are U.S. Census Bureau facilities, staffed by a Census Bureau employee, which meet all physical and computer security requirements for access to restricted-use data. At RDCs, qualified researchers with approved projects receive restricted access to selected non-public Census Bureau data files. Currently, there are 15 Census Research Data Center locations:

      • Ann Arbor, MI (University of Michigan)
      • Atlanta, GA (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)
      • Berkeley, CA (University of California at Berkeley)
      • Cambridge, MA (National Bureau of Economic Research)
      • Chicago, IL (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
      • College Station, TX (Texas A&M University)
      • Durham, NC (Duke University)
      • Ithaca, NY (Cornell University)
      • Los Angeles, CA (University of California at Los Angeles)
      • Minneapolis, MN (University of Minnesota)
      • New York City, NY (Baruch School of Public Affairs)
      • Research Triangle Park, NC (RTI International)
      • Seattle, WA (University of Washington)
      • Stanford, CA (Stanford University)
      • Suitland, MD (Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau)

  • What is Special Sworn Status?
    • The Census Bureau gives Special Sworn Status to individuals to conduct work that specifically benefits a Census Bureau program. Title 13 of the U.S. Code permits these activities under Section 23 (c). Moreover, these individuals are sworn to protect the data as Census Bureau employees are sworn, and they are subject to the same legal obligations and penalties.

  • How does an individual or organization apply to conduct research at an RDC?
  • Who determines whether a researcher is eligible to do work at an RDC?
    • All proposals to carry out research at an RDC must be approved by the Census Bureau. If data are provided by other agencies (e.g., the Social Security Administration), the other agencies must approve of the project as well.


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