MU Research Data Center

The University of Missouri Research Data Center (MU RDC) is a joint project between the US Census Bureau and the University of Missouri. The MU RDC is a satellite branch of the Kansas City RDC that is located at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The facility, located in Ellis Library at the University of Missouri, provides a secure environment where researchers with approved projects can access restricted-use datasets. Please see the proposal guidelines below to learn more about the process for submitting a proposal and accessing the data.


The MU RDC gives researchers access to hundreds of federal datasets that will support research in economics, sociology, and public health. Generally, there are four categories of data on which qualified researchers may perform statistical analysis inside the secure MU RDC:

  • Demographic Data: Censuses and surveys of households and individuals. Most of these datasets are released as public use files, but the versions in the secure RDC are not the public use versions. These restricted RDC versions include a more complete geography (in some cases down to the block). Also, items such as income are often not top coded. Individual identifiers such as name, address, and social security numbers have been removed.
  • Economic Data: Economic data refer to the Economic Census of establishments and various surveys and data for establishments and firms. With very few exceptions, the public use versions for these files are limited to data presented in aggregate form.
  • Linked Business and Household Data: The Longitudinal Employer–Household Dynamics (LEHD) data uses unemployment insurance records to match employer data with employee data to provide high quality local labor market information. Firm and worker information are combined to create job level quarterly earnings history data, data on where workers live and work, and data on firm characteristics, such as industry.
  • Health Data (Non-Census Data): The MU RDC now has access to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
    • See a detailed description of the NCHS data and fid out how to gain access through the RDC.
    • See a detailed description of AHRQ’s MEPS-IC file and find out how to gain access through the RDC.

Information Sessions

Information sessions about RDC resources are held periodically across campus. Schedule an MU RDC Information Session for your department, seminar, or class! Focusing on economic, demographic, or health data, these sessions are a great way to learn more about the MU RDC, available datasets, and the proposal process. Email Jacob Cronin at

The sessions will review the datasets available in the RDC, including demographic data, economic data, and health data.  Below is the schedule for the Fall 2017 information sessions:

  • Economic Data: October 15, 2018, 2:00-3:00pm, 1209 Student Center
  • Health Data: October 17, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm, 2205 Student Center
  • Demographic Data: October 19, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm, 1209 Student Center

You can view the slides from previous information sessions here: Economic data, Demographic data, Health data.

Proposal Guidelines

Researchers intending to use restricted-access Census data must submit a research proposal to the Center for Economic Studies (CES). The official proposal guidelines can be found here.

Proposals that use non-public Census microdata are submitted to the MU RDC administrator before being submitted to CES. For that reason, researchers who wish to develop a proposal to conduct research at the MU RDC should first contact the MU RDC Administrator. The researcher should discuss the proposed project with the administrator to determine if the proposal has:

      • Potential to benefit Census Bureau data programs
      • Scientific merit
      • Evidence of feasibility
      • Clear need for non-public data
      • Minimal risk of disclosure

Once the MU RDC administrator and the researcher have agreed it is sensible to proceed, the administrator will work with the researcher to complete the official proposal guidelines. Given the restricted nature of the data, the proposal must address the risks of disclosing confidential information as well as how the project will benefit the Census Bureau’s data collection programs. These issues might be unfamiliar to researchers who have not already conducted research at a Census RDC. The MU RDC Administrator can assist researchers in preparing proposals that will adequately address these issues.

If you interested in submitting a proposal, please contact:

Jacob Cronin
MU RDC Administrator

Proposals using NCHS and/or AHRQ data must meet their respective proposal guidelines (see links below) in addition to the Census guidelines above.

Qualified researchers are required to obtain Special Sworn Status (SSS) prior to beginning research at the secure MU RDC. To obtain SSS, researchers must be fingerprinted, make a sworn statement in the presence of a notary public, and provide additional information for background checks. Once completed, this process establishes the researcher as a temporary uncompensated employee of the U.S. Census Bureau. The MU RDC Administrator will provide instructions on completing this process after the proposal has been approved.

MU RDC Fees for 2017

Internal Researchers

Access fees are waived for most University of Missouri researchers. Contact Peter Mueser ( or Colleen Heflin ( for details.

External Researchers

Access to the MU RDC for researchers outside of the University of Missouri is $20,000/year/project. However, an alternative fee structure, which may be of interest for those undertaking short term projects, can be chosen by those researchers using data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (National Center for Health Statistics or the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).  For this alternative, the fee is $2,000/year/project plus $300 for each day in the MU RDC.