The workshop began with a look at the U.S. household survey system and where it stands, followed by overviews of household survey systems from several other countries: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Canada. These countries are facing many of the same issues as the United States. Although what works in one country may not work in another, it is important not to rule any ideas out in the course of these discussions.

The workshop then focused on topic areas in which promising research is being done and there is also room for additional discussion and perhaps some experimentation. One of these topics is sampling frames: Can large surveys serve as first-phase samples for smaller surveys? Can the statistical community work together to make the development and maintenance of sampling frames more efficient? There was also a general discussion of methodology—for example, modes of data collection and the use of administrative records.

The agenda then shifted to a discussion of estimation challenges and the boundaries between direct estimation and model-based small-area estimation. This was followed by a discussion of survey content, particularly instances of multiple measures of the same concept, when this is desirable, when it is not, and what can be done about it. This session included thoughts on the potential future role of the ACS and of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.


This summary of a workshop is intended to describe the presentations of the workshop and the discussions that followed each session topic, as outlined in the agenda (see appendix). Following this introduction, Chapter 2 represents the first session of the workshop with an overview of the U.S. federal household survey system at a crossroads. It also presents models of household surveys in other countries in contrast to those in the United States. Chapter 3 covers the session on sampling frames and new ideas on how to use them. Chapter 4 addresses various methods of collection of household data, including the use of administrative records. Chapter 5 summarizes the discussions that took place at the end of the first day’s presentations. Chapter 6 covers the topic of small-area estimation, how this methodology is used now, and other ways that it might be used in federal surveys. Chapter 7 focuses on survey content, discussing standardized measures of the same concept used across different surveys (e.g., disability) and instances when the use of different measures is more appropriate (e.g., poverty or income). The chapter also addresses the topic of official statistics. Finally, Chapter 8 summarizes the floor discussion that took place at the workshop’s close.

It is important to note that the nature of this report is that of a factual summary of the presentations and related discussions that transpired during the workshop. Therefore, all views presented herein are those solely of the

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