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April 2012

Consumer Expenditure Survey Microdata Users’ Workshop, July 2011

Geoffrey D. Paulin

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) is the most detailed source of expenditures, demographics, and income collected by the federal government. CE data are collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in two component surveys: the Quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey, which are described subsequently. (See Appendix A.) Every year, the CE program releases microdata from each of these surveys, which are used by researchers in a variety of areas, including academia, government, market research, and other private industry areas. In July 2006, the CE program office conducted the first in a series of annual workshops, to help users to better understand the structure of CE microdata; provide training in the uses of the surveys; and, through presentations by current users and interactive forums, promote conversation among the users, both to expand awareness within the community of common research interests and to discuss possibilities for collaboration. As part of these efforts, the past three workshops have also featured presentations by economists from the BLS regional offices who work with CE data. (See Appendix B.) The focus of this report is the most recent workshop, which was held in 2011

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