Did Steve Ruggles send this?


IF so I will post on several listservs…but need confrirmation first

Public Use Revision of Census Data [Federal Register Notice 83 FR 34111]

Dear IPUMS User,

I am writing with an urgent request that you respond to Federal Register Notice 83 FR 34111, regarding the use of Census Bureau data products. The comment period expires in one week on November 8, 2018 .

The Census Bureau is planning a fundamental revision of its procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of public use data. The proposed new disclosure avoidance system relies on injecting noise with formal privacy rules, based on theories of differential privacy. It is not clear how this new disclosure avoidance system will be implemented, but there is significant danger that it will reduce or even eliminate the usability of public use data for many common research and policy applications.

It is crucial that the research community responds to the call for comments by explaining how we use the American Community Survey (ACS) and decennial census data. Although the Federal Register Notice only addresses 2020 census products, the Census Bureau is planning to use similar techniques for ACS, and it is vital that they take uses of the ACS microdata into account. Complex applications that use data from multiple levels—such as the characteristics of individuals, their family members, community characteristics, and so on—may be especially relevant to the discussion.

The stakes are high. If we lose statistically valid public census data, it will be an enormous setback to government transparency, social science, and policy formation. I hope that comments from the community will persuade the Census Bureau to proceed with caution and to engage in robust discussion with the research community about the costs and benefits of new disclosure avoidance methods.

Please send at least a brief comment describing your work with microdata or summary files from the ACS or the decennial census . You may respond to the Federal Register Notice by emailing POP.2020.DataProducts@census.gov, referencing Federal Register Notice 83 FR 34111. I would appreciate it if you copy us at ipums@umn.edu.


Steve Ruggles
IPUMS Director


225 19th Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Yes, this message is in fact from Steve and we greatly appreciate your willingness to contribute. We have already heard from many but the more the better. Thank you.