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

Author

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

Abstract

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
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2014/CES-WP-14-10.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    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. 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.
    4. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    confidentiality; synthetic micro data; official statistics;

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