Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



This article describes an explosion in the availability of individual-level public administrative data in the United States and worldwide. These datasets can be used as stand-alone resources or linked across different sources. These new resources will facilitate transformative research on social, demographic, and economic changes, policy evaluation, and other experimental analyses. We discuss the current status of administrative big data in the United States, their potential to advance social science and policy studies, and advantages and challenges for using these data in practice. We showcase a few ongoing large-scale U.S. administrative data initiatives and hope to spark future parallel endeavors in other countries.


This is a forthcoming article (translated into Korean) to be published in the following journal:

Song, Xi and Thomas S. Coleman. Forthcoming. “Using Administrative Big Data to Solve Problems in Social Science and Policy Research.” Global Social Security Review 14:5-15.


big data, survey data, administrative data, Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications, Census Longitudinal Infrastructure Project, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, social media, data-linking



Date Posted: 10 November 2020