Census & Administrative Data
FSRDC Data and Guidelines
The Berkeley FSRDC is a joint project between the US Census Bureau and the University of California at Berkeley, hosted at the D-Lab. As one of the 30 sites in the Census FSRDC Program(link is external), our facility provides a secure environment where researchers with appropriate security clearance on approved projects can access restricted-use datasets.
The Berkeley FSRDC provides researchers access to non-public federal datasets that can support research in economics, sociology, public health, and related fields. The Berkeley FSRDC is an access point for data from the US Census Bureau and from other partnering governmental agencies.
Broadly speaking, there are three types of Census data available through the Berkeley FSRDC:
Demographic Data:(link is external) Censuses and surveys of households and individuals. Many of these datasets have a public-use version, but those available through the Berkeley FSRDC have more detailed geography (in some cases down to the block) and items such as income are often not top coded.
Economic Data:(link is external) Economic data are data where the unit of observation is the establishment and/or firm. If a public-use version for these files exist, they are limited to data presented in aggregate form.
Linked Business and Household Data:(link is external) The Longitudinal Employer–Household Dynamics (LEHD) program uses unemployment insurance records to match employers with employees to provide high-quality local labor market information. Firm and worker information are combined to create job level quarterly earnings history data, data on where workers live and work, and data on firm characteristics, such as industry.
Research projects wanting to use any of the above data must follow Census guidelines for data access. See the information on these guidelines below.
Partner Agency Data
The Berkeley FSRDC is also an access point for approved projects that use restricted-use data from the following partnering agencies:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ(link is external))
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS(link is external))
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA(link is external))
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS(link is external))
Projects wanting to use partnering agency data will need to follow the proposal guidelines of the respective agency. Follow the agency links for more information.
Guidelines and Protocols
Census Proposal Guidelines
Researchers whose research agenda relies on restricted-use Census data work with the Berkeley FSRDC administrator, Angela Andrus, to develop a proposal before submission to the Center for Enterprise Dissemination (CED) at the US Census Bureau. The researcher should discuss the proposed project with the administrator to determine if the proposal demonstrates:
- Potential to benefit Census Bureau data programs
- Scientific merit
- Evidence of feasibility
- Clear need for non-public data
- Minimal risk of disclosure
Should the Berkeley FSRDC administrator and the researcher agree to proceed, the administrator will work with the researcher to develop a full proposal following these guidelines.
If you are interested in developing a Census data proposal, please contact:
Berkeley FSRDC Administrator
Special Sworn Status (SSS)
Researchers are required to obtain Special Sworn Status (SSS) before they can access the Berkeley FSRDC. To be eligible to apply for SSS, researchers must (a) be a US citizen or foreign national with 3 of the past 5 years residency in the US, and (b) currently live in the US and have a US institutional affiliation. To apply for SSS, researchers must be fingerprinted, make a sworn statement in the presence of a notary public, and provide additional information for a background investigation. Costs for preparation of these materials is the responsibility of the researcher. Application materials will be provided after the proposal has been approved.
There are substantial financial costs involved in operating a Federal Statistical Research Data Center. The Berkeley FSRDC has limited funding and must be partially self-supporting through the collection of user and project fees.Hosting And Access Fees
Project hosting fees range from $15,000 - $20,000 per year, depending on the nature of the project, while annual researcher access fees on existing projects are lower. Non-UC Berkeley organizations involved in multiple projects or with multiple researchers can subscribe to a consortium membership that offers substantial discount over individual project and researcher fees.
Access fees are waived for current faculty, students and staff at the University of California Berkeley, as these are funded by the D-Lab and by other units within the university.
For more information about our fees or for details of the consortium membership program, please contact Patty Frontiera (email@example.com), Co-Director of the Berkeley FSRDC.
Additional fees may be charged to projects that use partner agency data or that impose other special costs on CED, the Census Bureau, or the Berkeley FSRDC. These costs are the responsibility of the researcher and are not covered by the Berkeley FSRDC access and hosting Fees.
- Angela Andrus, Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Patty Frontiera, Co-Director, email@example.com
- David Harding, Co-Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
350 Social Sciences Building
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720