IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Expanding The Role Of Synthetic Data At The U.S. Census Bureau


  • Ron S. Jarmin
  • Thomas A. Louis
  • Javier Miranda


National Statistical offices (NSOs) create official statistics from data collected from survey respondents, government administrative records and other sources. The raw source data is usually considered to be confidential. In the case of the U.S. Census Bureau, confidentiality of survey and administrative records microdata is mandated by statute, and this mandate to protect confidentiality is often at odds with the needs of users to extract as much information from the data as possible. Traditional disclosure protection techniques result in official data products that do not fully utilize the information content of the underlying microdata. Typically, these products take the form of simple aggregate tabulations. In a few cases anonymized public- use micro samples are made available, but these face a growing risk of re-identification by the increasing amounts of information about individuals and firms available in the public domain. One approach for overcoming these risks is to release products based on synthetic data where values are simulated from statistical models designed to mimic the (joint) distributions of the underlying microdata. We discuss re- cent Census Bureau work to develop and deploy such products. We discuss the benefits and challenges involved with extending the scope of synthetic data products in official statistics.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron S. Jarmin & Thomas A. Louis & Javier Miranda, 2014. "Expanding The Role Of Synthetic Data At The U.S. Census Bureau," Working Papers 14-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:14-10

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2014
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lucia Foster & Ron Jarmin & Lynn Riggs, 2009. "Resolving the Tension Between Access and Confidentiality: Past Experience and Future Plans at the U.S. Census Bureau," Working Papers 09-33, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nathan Goldschlag* & Javier Miranda†, 2016. "Business Dynamics Statistics of High Tech Industries," Working Papers 16-55, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Satkartar K. Kinney & Jerome P. Reiter & Javier Miranda, 2014. "Improving The Synthetic Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 14-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Miranda, Javier & Lars Vilhuber, 2014. "Looking Back On Three Years Of Using The Synthetic Lbd Beta," Working Papers 14-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Javier Miranda & Lars Vilhuber, 2016. "Using Partially Synthetic Microdata to Protect Sensitive Cells in Business Statistics," Working Papers 16-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:14-10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dawn Anderson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.