NEW REPORT: Analysis of Census Bureau’s August 2022 Differential Privacy Demonstration Product

Dr. Bill O'Hare

This paper is meant to provide stakeholders and child advocates with some fundamental information about the level of errors DP is likely to  inject into the 2020 Census data for the population ages 0 to 4. There are a couple of reasons for sharing this information with child advocates now.  The 2020 Census results for some localities may include situations where the number of young children reported looks suspect.  It is important to make sure child advocates are aware of the potential impact of DP so they can explain odd child statistics to local leaders.

There is a second reason for sharing this information with state and local child advocates. The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for feedback on the use of DP in the 2020 Census.  The Census Bureau is looking for cases where census data are used to make decisions and the Census Bureau is asking data users to examine the DP Demonstration Product to see if the error injected by DP make the data unfit for use.  After reading this report, I hope you will convey your thoughts to the Census Bureau.

There is some latitude in how much error the Census Bureau will inject into the DHC files so feedback from census data users is important. If many users feel the current level of precision for data on young children in DP Demonstration Product is not accurate enough for some uses, there is a chance the Census Bureau could make the final data more accurate.

Stakeholders, child advocates, and data users should take advantage of this opportunity to communicate their thoughts to the Census Bureau before Census Bureau’s Data Stewardship Advisory Committee makes a final decision on the privacy parameters to be used in the DHC file when it is released in May of 2023.  Comments on the implications of DP in the August 2022 Demonstration File are due September 26, 2022,  Comments and responses can be sent to



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