The Center for Economic Studies at the U.S. Census Bureau, in
partnership with Duke University, has opened a Research Data Center (RDC) laboratory on the university's campus in Durham, N.C.
Located in the heart of North Carolina's "Research Triangle," the new Triangle Census Research Data Center (TCRDC) laboratory, which opened last month (December), offers qualified researchers restricted access to unpublished economic and demographic data collected by the Census Bureau in its surveys and censuses. RDC operating procedures, strict security and
strong legal safeguards assure the confidentiality of these data as required by law.
"The fundamental scientific merit of research on crucial issues can be substantially improved by access to these data," said Marjorie McElroy, chair of the Duke University Economics Department and faculty advisor for the TCRDC. Research topics, she said, include health, aging and Social Security, immigration, education, crime, unemployment, productivity,
economic growth, technological change, information technology and intellectual property rights.
"The Census Bureau in turn, will have its data enhanced substantially by feedback from the researchers in these areas," McElroy said. "This center will bring researchers of the highest caliber to live and work in the Triangle, and that is particularly exciting to me."
Similar centers already have been established by the Census Bureau in Washington, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Berkeley, Calif.
Before gaining access to information in RDCs, researchers must submit proposals to the RDC and the Census Bureau for approval. The review process ensures that proposed research is feasible, has scientific merit
and benefits Census Bureau programs.
The Duke site was chosen jointly by the Census Bureau and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Funding to support the center has been provided by the NSF and the three universities that form the geographic triangle for which the Research Triangle is named -- Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
For information about the Center for Economic Studies and its Research Data Centers program, visit its Web site at http://www.ces.census.gov.