The U.S. Census Bureau and the University of Washington today formally announced the opening of a new Census Research Data Center at the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. It becomes one of 15 Research Data Centers (RDCs) across the country, allowing researchers to dig deep into demographic, economic, public health and household surveys.

“This Census Research Data Center will enable the research community across the Northwest to conduct statistical analyses that otherwise would not be possible on a wide range of research projects in the social sciences,” said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director, in a press release. “We anticipate the creation of new products that leverage the value of Census Bureau data that has already been collected.”

Prior to the opening of the center, researchers in the region were forced to travel to the RDC at UC Berkeley to access the restricted data.

The new center will assist in providing key data in ongoing projects such as the study of the influence of wage ordinances on levels of poverty and inequality; an examination of globalization’s effects on declining trade costs; an analysis of the impact of Tolling on low-income and minority populations in the Puget Sound; and a study of the relation between socioeconomic status and obesity rates in Seattle-King County.

Other cities with research data centers include Boston; Berkeley; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York; Ithaca, N.Y.; Durham, N.C.; and Minneapolis.

The arrival of the new center comes a few months after the region lost out on a branch of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

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