The Wisconsin Administrative Data Core (WADC)

Developed and maintained by the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) in collaboration with its Wisconsin state agency partners, the Wisconsin Administrative Data Core (WADC) links a large array of administrative data covering a long period of program history. It is a unique data resource that supports evidence-based policymaking and allows for research and evaluation across multiple programs and outcomes that would not be possible using only a single agency’s data.

The Data Core facilitates high impact research with the potential to improve lives by addressing issues of policy and practice relevant to the mission of the participating state agencies. This resource provides the opportunity to work in partnership with IRP and state agencies to ensure the accurate use of administrative data. IRP staff can help researchers identify the best authoritative source for constructs and share data documentation, as well as connect them with policymakers and practitioners who can provide subject matter expertise and contextual information to help guide analysis. IRP will also work with researchers interested in translating and disseminating their findings in actionable ways for a variety of policymaker and public audiences.

IRP ensures that appropriate physical, administrative, and technical controls are in place to safely store data; guarantee individual confidentiality; and comply with federal, state, and agency regulations. All data remain the property of these state agencies, who retain approval authority for the use of their data.

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For more information on the history of the WADC, benefits of data sharing for state agencies, and the ways in which a data core like WADC can be used by researchers, watch this May 2022 IRP webinar, The Wisconsin Approach To Developing Administrative Data Resources For Research & Evaluation.

What Data Are in the Wisconsin Administrative Data Core?

The Data Core includes cleaned and harmonized data from the following  programs:

Agency/Program Data
Health Services (DHS) FoodShare (SNAP/Food Stamps)
BadgerCare (Medicaid/SCHIP)
Medicaid Claims & Encounters
Caretaker Supplement
Children and Families (DCF) W-2 Wisconsin Works (TANF)
WI Shares (child care subsidies)
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
Child Support
Child Welfare/Child Protective Services
Workforce Development (DWD) Quarterly wage records
Unemployment Insurance benefits
Corrections (DOC) Incarceration in state prison facilities
Milwaukee County Sheriff Incarceration in Milwaukee County jails
Court Records Public court records
21-county sample of divorce and paternity cases
Public Instruction (DPI) 4K-12 public school enrollment and school records
Homeless Management Information System Homelessness services

Every year Data Core staff reconstruct a match of all individuals that appear in the administrative data of contributing state programs, enabling linkages across all of the program data systems.

  • As of 2022, the Data Core contained information on more than 13 million individuals.
  • The Data Core also includes demographic information and county-level location for each individual.
  • Separate files indicate family relationships (mothers and fathers) for those individuals for whom these relationships can be determined.
  • Individual information can then be linked to program case and participation files, resulting in analysis files that include administrative data from multiple sources and across time.

For more information:

Are You Interested In Pursuing A Project Using The WI Administrative Data Core?

Please fill out the following project interest form to learn more and talk with an IRP staff member.
To submit a formal data use application, please complete the following form.

Recent Research Projects Using The WI Administrative Data Core

Recent IRP Resources Using the WI Administrative Data Core

Current WI Administrative Data Core Initiatives

The Wisconsin Administrative Data Core (grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Using the Data

WADC Data Documentation: WADC Overview and Data Structure