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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on National Statistics
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Standing Committee on Creating the American Opportunity Study (AOS): First Phase

The National Research Council, through its Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), proposes to convene a standing committee to oversee the creation of the American Opportunity Study (AOS), a novel, large-scale resource for studies of educational, occupational, and economic mobility across and within generations. By permitting on-demand links of existing censuses, administrative data (e.g., IRS and SSA data), and other survey data (e.g., the American Community Survey), the AOS will provide reliable, longitudinal measurements for the entire population and important population subgroups, such as those defined by economic status, race-ethnicity, national origin, generational status, education, gender, age, and geographic location. The AOS will illuminate contemporary levels, differentials, and trends in mobility, and also provide valid comparisons with past decades. Once established, it will be relatively inexpensive to carry the AOS forward.

The concept for the AOS was developed through an NRC workshop and subsequent planning meetings. This prospectus is for the first phase of a multi-phase activity, which is expected to lead to an operational AOS and which will be overseen by an NRC standing committee of demographers, sociologists, economists, statisticians, and other relevant experts. The standing committee will not issue reports but may identify topics that warrant consideration in public workshops or by panels that produce NRC reports. The first phase, to extend over 24 months, will encompass detailed planning for the AOS and, most importantly, the development, testing, and validation of data capture and linkage procedures to permit attachment of identifiers to records from the 1990 census (which, unlike subsequent censuses, did not electronically capture such information). In turn, such identifiers will permit linking the census data over time and with other data sets. This work will be carried out in the secure protected environment of the U.S. Census Bureau's Research Data Centers with the active involvement of Census Bureau staff.

Sponsor: Carnegie Corporation of New York

Workshop Presentations

“The Potential for Research Using Linked Census, Survey, and Administrative Data to Assess the Longer Term Effects of Policy”
May 9, 2016
Read more and download the presentations

Committee Membership 

Michael Hout (chair), New York University
Stephen Fienberg, Carnegie Mellon University
David Grusky, Stanford University
David Johnson, University of Michigan
Rucker Johnson, University of California– Berkeley
Alan Karr, RTI International
Michael Larsen, George Washington University
Vida Maralani, Yale University
Bhashkar Mazumder, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Sara McLanahan, Princeton University
Jared Murray, Carnegie Mellon University
Jerome Reiter, Duke University
Mauricio Sadinle, Duke University
Timothy Smeeding, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matthew Snipp, Stanford University
Florencia Torche, New York University
Yu Xie, Princeton University
Kirk Wolter, NORC at the University of Chicago


Carol House, Study Director

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