This presentation addresses the demand for combining state and local data with federally held administrative data sources that originates from governmental and research communities for evidence-building purposes. There is great interest in utilizing data held at the U.S. Census Bureau to inform policy decision making across all levels of government. Data and domains include education, employment and earnings, public assistance programs, housing and homelessness, health, and criminal justice. In order to study these topics, researchers seek to use multiple sources of data held at the Census Bureau: taxes, wages and employment, Census Bureau surveys, public assistance programs, residential mobility, and mortality. Crucial policy issues stand to benefit from an increased capacity to link state and local data to federally held data for research purposes within a secure, privacy-protected environment.
Specifically, we report on current efforts to facilitate this type of activity and the set of challenges that must be addressed. This reporting is based on a set of six active project that are engaged in use of federally held data to build evidence for public programs.