Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2014 (ICPSR 36759)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics


This data collection contains data from censuses of publicly funded crime laboratories in 2014. The data were collected to examine change and stability in the operations of crime laboratories serving federal, state, and local jurisdictions. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) first surveyed forensic crime laboratories in 1998, focusing solely on agencies that performed DNA analysis. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded the 1998 study as part of its DNA Laboratory Improvement Program. The BJS' National Study of DNA Laboratories was repeated in 2001. An expanded version of the data collection, called the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, was first conducted among all forensic crime laboratories in 2002. For the 2014 study, data were collected from April 2015 to September 2015 on the organization, functions, budget, staffing, workload, and performance expectations of the nation's forensic crime laboratories operating in 2014. A total of 360 of the 409 eligible crime laboratories operating in 2014 responded to the census. The nation's publicly funded forensic crime laboratories performed a variety of forensic services in 2014, including DNA testing and controlled substance identification for federal, state, and local jurisdictions. The 2014 Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories obtained detailed information on the types of forensic requests received by these laboratories and the resources needed to complete them. The census also collected data on crime laboratory budgets, personnel, accreditations, and backlogged cases.

Series: Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Labs Series

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


2014 Census File - Download All Files (8.116 MB)
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Study Description


United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2014. ICPSR36759-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-04-19. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36759.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36759.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    budgets, crime laboratories, criminal investigations, DNA fingerprinting, expenditures, forensic sciences, personnel, policies and procedures

Smallest Geographic Unit:    United States

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2014

Unit of Observation:    crime laboratory

Universe:    Publicly funded federal, state, and local forensic crime laboratories currently operating in United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Data were reformatted for best fit.

The study was conducted by the Urban Institute.



Because the CPFFCL data collection was a census with no sampling, each crime lab was initially self-representing and had a design weight of 1. BJS developed weighting class adjustments for the 2002, 2005, 2009, and 2014 CPFFCL data to compensate for unit nonresponse and reduce nonresponse bias.

Sixteen subpopulations of labs were stratified into groups by crossing four categories of jurisdiction (federal, state, county, and municipal) and four categories of staff size (9 or fewer, 10 to 24, 25 to 49, and 50 or more). A seventeenth stratum was assigned to the FBI crime laboratory, given its unique size of more than 500 employees. Within each of the subgroups, statistical weights were applied to the data from the crime labs that responded to the census to allow their responses to represent the labs that did not respond.

Weight:    To generate national estimates, BJS created imputed variables (IMP) to account for missing data among labs that did not respond to either the entire CPFFCL questionnaire (unit-level response) or certain questions (item-level response. For more information on weights and methods for producing national estimates, please see the codebook.

Mode of Data Collection:    self-enumerated questionnaire

Response Rates:    Of the 409 eligible crime labs that received the questionnaire, 360 (88%) provided responses to at least some of the items. Of the 360 respondents, 351 (98%) completed the questionnaire through the automated web system.

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2017-04-19

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