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University of Missouri

Survey Says

Mizzou lands a valuable research tool with new satellite U.S. Census Research Data Center.

Although the U.S. Census Bureau is best known for its decadal population count, its data can also help researchers investigate how small businesses weathered Hurricane Katrina or how employer-provided health insurance has changed since the Affordable Care Act.

When Mizzou researchers wanted that kind of information, which is restricted to a handful of research data centers, they traveled to the nearest center in Chicago.

That will change in the next year when, as part of a consortium bringing a data center to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, a satellite data center opens at Ellis Library.

To use the MU center, researchers will need to get security clearance and submit research proposals for the data sets they want. “You get the opportunity to do analysis that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, but … it takes quite a bit of upfront effort,” says Peter Mueser, professor of economics, who, along with Colleen Heflin, associate professor of public affairs, took the lead in bringing the center to MU. Both are co-directors of the new Population, Education and Health Center at MU, which assists faculty in using the census resources.