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May 22 -- The Census Bureau invites public comment to OMB by June 21, 2024 regarding the proposed Generic Clearance for Collection of State Administrative Records Data.

The State administrative records will be integrated and linked with Census Bureau data from surveys and censuses and used to augment or streamline Census operations; improve the collection, analysis, and publication of data under Census Bureau's Title 13, U.S. Code (U.S.C) authorized censuses and surveys; improve methods of collecting program participation data; and conduct research to improve record linking methods.

The Census Bureau may provide copies of tabulated data of linked administrative, survey, and census data to state data sharing partners that are created by Census for Census research purposes. Tabulated data are subject to disclosure avoidance review prior to release. 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, whether in their original form or when comingled or linked with survey and census data.

Frequency: Initial data extract delivery followed by an annual data extract delivery through the duration of the terms of the agreement.

The Census Bureau efforts to collect state administrative records data include integrating and linking the data with Census Bureau data from current surveys and censuses to improve efficiency and accuracy of Census data collections, including 2030 Census Operations, and improve measures of the population and economy. In 2030, state administrative records could potentially be used to enhance non-ID address processing, imputation, in-office enumeration, contact strategies, and post-processing.    

The Census Bureau encourages the District of Columbia and all 50 states, to share administrative records data generally associated with, but not limited to, government assistance programs. The Census Bureau benefits from these efforts by improving data quality, survey frames, developing model-based edits and allocations, and studies of program participation and data quality over time. Collaborating agencies have benefited through access to copies of reports and tabulations that Census creates for Census research purposes to enhance information about participation in assistance programs.
The authority for the Census Bureau to acquire state administrative records data on nutrition assistance is 13 U.S.C. § 6.  Additionally, the state agencies may provide SNAP and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) data to the Census Bureau under 7 U.S.C. § 2026 and 42 U.S.C. § 1786, respectively.  Further, state agencies may provide TANF data to the Census Bureau under 42 U.S.C. § 1320b-7 and 45 C.F.R.§ 205.50.

The Census Bureau will link State administrative records data with data from censuses and surveys at the Census Bureau, including but not limited to data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), Current Population Survey (CPS), and the American Community Survey (ACS).  

Linking records across programs, across states, or over time is 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 Census Bureau requests the following data elements from the state agencies:   

Case unit identifiers,
Active Participant definitions,  
Complete monthly case unit address history (residence, mailing),
Benefit month,
Monthly Benefits data (any of the available: benefits received date, benefits amount issued/received, and benefit amount redeemed),
Income reporting requirement (simplified reporting, change reporting, etc.),
Gross income (monthly),
Net income (monthly),
Eligibility and denial information,
Household size,
Identifiers for individuals in case units, and
The following information on individuals in a case unit:

Social Security Number
Case unit/main contact phone number
Unique individual identifier
Benefit month
Case unit identifier
Program data type
Active participant definitions
Relationship to primary recipient
History of membership in case unit
Hispanic origin/Ethnicity
Date of birth
Gross income (monthly)
Net income (monthly)
Monthly income source (earnings, TANF, SSI, SSA, UI, general assistance, other)

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 that may use these tabulations for research related to and evaluation of state programs, such as rates of enrollment in and demographic characteristics of participants in state assistance programs.  

Data sharing and analysis of linked files are solely for statistical purposes, not for program enforcement or the determination of individual benefits.  All State administrative records data are and will remain confidential, whether in their original form or when comingled or linked.

Admin records used in 2020 Census: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=142821100
Census submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202405-0607-001 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-11232

For AEA members wishing to submit comments to OMB, the AEA Committee on Economic Statistics offers "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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