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Feb 16 -- The Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, invites public comment by April 16, 2024 regarding the proposed Generic Clearance for Collection of State Administrative Records Data.

The U.S. Census Bureau plans to request clearance for acquiring State administrative records data in order to improve efficiency and accuracy in our data collections, and to improve measures of the population and economy. The Census Bureau has undertaken research projects to integrate and link Census Bureau data from current surveys and censuses with State administrative records data.

The Census Bureau uses State administrative records data linked with other survey and census records, including but not limited to, data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS) to conduct research and improve operations. The Census Bureau benefits from these projects by improving data quality, and producing modelbased estimates, improved edits and allocations, and studies of program participation over time. Data providers have benefited through access to tabulated data and reports to better administer their programs.

The Census Bureau encourages the District of Columbia and all 50 states to share administrative records data generally associated with, but not limited to: nutrition and food assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and welfare programs, including child care subsidy; household self-sufficiency programs, including low income energy assistance programs and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Data sharing and analysis of linked files are solely for statistical purposes, not for program enforcement. All State administrative records data are and will remain confidential under title 13, United States Code, section 9, whether in their original form or when comingled or linked.

Linking records across programs, across states, or over time will be accomplished using a unique linkage identifier called a Protected Identification Key (PIK). Processing to assign a PIK to each person record involves matching based on combinations of name, address, sex, date of birth, and Social Security Number (SSN) data, as available. The person validation and PIK processing has been used by other Census Bureau research and operations projects. Only Census Bureau staff conducting the record linkage have access to files with Personally Identifiable Information, and access to those files assigned a PIK is limited to individuals with a need to know who have met the requirements of Title 13, United States Code, and have appropriate security clearances.

The Census Bureau makes summary statistics and analyses using the State administrative records data publicly available. This information assists State Agencies in developing better measures of program participation, poverty, and inequality, and understanding the demographic characteristics of participants. The analyses help State Agencies understand variation in program participation across demographic subgroups and sub-state geographies, review enrollment rates for those eligible for assistance, analyze the effects of state programs on a variety of outcomes, and improve program administration in determining initial eligibility, establishing recertification periods, and expanding outreach in underserved populations and areas.

The Census Bureau will contact the State Agencies to discuss uses of State administrative records data. The State Agencies will enter data sharing agreements with the Census Bureau to provide administrative records data. The State Agency will transfer State administrative records to the Census Bureau via secure File Transfer Protocol or appropriately encrypted CD–ROM or DVD–ROM.

In the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau used state administrative data for Non-ID Address Enhanced Matching. Throughout the entire self-response period, Non-ID Processing matched respondent-provided addresses from non-ID cases (or cases without preassigned Census IDs) to the MTdb. When cases could not initially be matched to the MTdb, information derived from administrative records and third-party data sources was used to augment respondent-provided address information, creating the most accurate addresses possible. These “enhanced” addresses then were used in a second attempt to match non-ID addresses to the MTdb. For the 2020 Census, the decision was made to use state data for Non-ID Address Enhanced Matching even though all states did not participate because Non-ID Process has a fieldwork component. Therefore, states that did not provide data could still have a fieldwork possibility to help resolve the Non-ID status.
In the 2020 Census, additional uses of state administrative records were limited (other than for Non-ID Address Enhanced Matching). Research in 2020 was focused primarily on SNAP/TANF program.  For AR modeling, research did not indicate coverage benefits of including state data and folding that into deciding whether to reduce contacts for an address. This made sense because populations participating in these SNAP-like programs are typically harder-to-count populations. These are the types of populations that we were looking to not reducing contacts for those populations. Additional work in 2020 was done to look at the characteristics provided by SNAP data. These results showed that information, especially race and Hispanic origin, did not have good agreement with responses that the person gave to the 2010 Census or the ACS. Based on this result, there was not a strong case to use this state information to directly-use those race and Hispanic origin state information.

In 2030, the plan is to use state administrative records for multiple uses, including potentially imputation, in-office enumeration, tailoring contact strategy, and post-processing, as part of the larger administrative data Person Characteristic Frame. The current plan is that state data sources will be used regardless of whether these sources are available for all states and territories.  

The Census Bureau will use nutrition assistance data to improve surveys and census authorized by Title 13 of the United States Code. The Census Bureau will evaluate the quality of the linked data to: improve efficiency and accuracy in our data collections; improve measures of population and economy; evaluate and improve data linking software and techniques; improve data quality and estimates; improve Census Bureau household survey coverage and gain a greater understanding of data quality collected in Census Bureau household surveys on program participation, household composition and income; and provide a basis for improving Census Bureau demographic survey program participation questions.

The Census Bureau may provide tabulated data to the participating state agencies. This information will help the state agencies develop better measures of poverty, analyze the demographic characteristics of participants, review enrollment rates for those eligible for assistance, and analyze the effects of state programs on a variety of outcomes.  

The Census Bureau has collaborated with the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to gain their insight into the availability and utility of administrative records from state programs.  

The Census Bureau offers state program agencies $10,000-$20,000 per data type for reimbursement of the costs incurred by the state to extract the data. A draft agreement will be offered for states for use and example tabulations and data visualizations will be shared.

System of Records Notice (SORN): Census Statistical Administrative Records System: https://www.osec.doc.gov/opog/PrivacyAct/SORNs/census-8.html
Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA): Census ADRM Center for Optimization and Data Science (CODS) Integrated Research Environment (IRE) https://www.osec.doc.gov/opog/privacy/Census%20PIAs/ADRM-CODS-IRE-PIA%20FY2023_SAOP_Approved.pdf

Current ICR approved by OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201912-0607-003
Draft ICR supporting statement: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/dqsugrno54vinkkqmuenc/h?rlkey=7yiqf0foicpwqcr20ydsfb73a&dl=0
Draft MOA between Census and state govt for access to SNAP and TANF data: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/1945m6jh8hp47zkndbmcd/Attachment-A-FNS-LDB_SNAP-and-TANF-with-old-use-too_draft_1.20.2023.docx?rlkey=vxmehulm24nzck4060cux7bve&dl=0
Requested from Census by AEAStat: Row-column matrix setting out the specific types of state administrative records currently collected by the Census Bureau (e.g., SNAP, driver's licenses) and the Census Bureau programs in which each type of record is used (e.g., the ACS).
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-03207

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