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The confidentiality edit is a procedure developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to provide protection in data tables prepared from the 1990 Census.

There are two different approaches: one was used for the regular Census data; the other was used for the long-form data, which were filled by a sample of the population.

Both techniques apply statistical disclosure limitation techniques to the microdata files before they are used to prepare tables. The adjusted files themselves are not released; they are used only to prepare tables. For the regular Census microdata file, the confidentiality edit involves "data swapping" or "switching" of attributes between matched records from different geographical units. For small blocks, the Census Bureau increases the sampling fraction.

After the microdata file has been treated in this way, it can be used directly to prepare tables and no further disclosure analysis is needed. For long form data, sampling provides sufficient confidentiality protection, except in small geographic regions. To provide additional protection in small geographic regions, one household is randomly selected and a sample of its data fields are blanked and replaced by imputed values.

Source Publication:
Statistics Netherlands, Statistics Canada, Germany FSO, University of Manchester, 2005, Glossary of Statistical Disclosure Control, incorporated in paper presented at Joint UNECE/Eurostat work session on statistical data confidentiality, Geneva, 9-11 October 2005.

Cross References:
Confidential data

Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Created on Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Last updated on Monday, April 15, 2013