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FUTURE THE OF FEDERAL HOUSEHOLD SURVEYS Summar of a Workshop y Krisztina Marton and Jennifer C. Karberg, Rapporteurs Committee on National Statistics Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
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NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the steering committee for the workshop were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by a consortium of federal agencies through a grant to the Committee on National Statistics from the National Science Foundation (award number SES-0453930). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-21497-1 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-21497-1 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334- 3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2011). The Future of Federal Household Surveys: Summary of a Workshop. K. Marton and J.C. Karberg, rapporteurs. Commit- tee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examina - tion of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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STEERING COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON THE FUTURE OF FEDERAL HOUSEHOLD SURVEYS HAL S. STERN (Chair), Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California, Irvine KATHARINE G. ABRAHAM, Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland CHESTER BOWIE, National Opinion Research Center, Bethesda, Maryland CYNTHIA CLARK, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC GRAHAM KALTON, Westat, Rockville, Maryland JENNIFER MADANS, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hyattsville, Maryland ALAN ZASLAVSKY, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard University Medical School KRISZTINA MARTON, Study Director JENNIFER C. KARBERG, Staff Officer AGNES GASKIN, Administrative Assistant v
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COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 2010-2011 LAWRENCE D. BROWN (Chair), Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania JOHN M. ABOWD, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University ALICIA CARRIQUIRY, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University WILLIAM DuMOUCHEL, Oracle Health Sciences, Waltham, Massachusetts V. JOSEPH HOTZ, Department of Economics, Duke University MICHAEL HOUT, Survey Research Center, University of California, Berkeley KAREN KAFADAR, Department of Statistics, Indiana University SALLIE KELLER, Science and Technology Policy Institute, Washington, DC LISA LYNCH, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University SALLY C. MORTON, Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh JOSEPH NEWHOUSE, Division of Health Policy Research and Education, Harvard University SAMUEL H. PRESTON, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania HAL S. STERN, Donald Bren School of Computer and Information Sciences, University of California, Irvine ROGER TOURANGEAU, Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland, and Survey Research Center, University of Michigan ALAN ZASLAVSKY, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard University Medical School CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Director vi
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Acknowledgments This report summarizes the proceedings of the Workshop on the Future of Federal Household Surveys, held on November 4-5, 2010. The workshop was convened by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) to discuss major challenges facing the federal statistical system in the area of household data collections and to identify strategies for moving forward. Support for the workshop was provided by several federal statistical agen - cies through a core grant to CNSTAT from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics Program. Contributing agen- cies included the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, the U.S. Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Census Bureau. As chair of the workshop steering committee, I acknowledge with appre- ciation everyone who participated in the workshop and made it a success. I especially would like to thank my colleagues on the steering committee for their dedication and leadership in planning the workshop and moderating the ses - sions. On more than one occasion a steering committee member volunteered to offer their expertise to fill a place in the program. I also thank all of the present- ers for their thoughtful presentations and professionalism, and acknowledge the many workshop participants for their contributions. The discussions were bold, and many new ideas emerged that can benefit the federal statistical system. vii
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viii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS On behalf of the steering committee, I would also like to sincerely thank the CNSTAT staff for making this workshop happen. Connie Citro, director of CNSTAT, provided invaluable guidance and support for the study. Krisztina Marton, study director, oversaw the planning of the workshop and the publi - cation of this meeting summary. The steering committee would especially like to recognize her considerable efforts to take the committee’s wish lists and recommendations and then with great tenacity turn them into an outstanding program. She was assisted in the planning of the workshop and the prepara - tion of the workshop summary by Jennifer Karberg, on loan from the Census Bureau. Christine McShane provided editorial help with this summary report, and Kirsten Sampson Snyder shepherded the report through the review pro - cess. Administrative assistance was provided by Agnes Gaskin. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with proce - dures approved by the Report Review Committee of the NRC. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the delibera - tive process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Graham Kalton, Westat; Frauke Kreuter, Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland; Sharon Lohr, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Arizona State University; Lars Lyberg, retired from the Director General’s Office, Statistics Sweden, and Statistics Department, Stockholm University; and Kristen Olson, Survey Research and Methodology Program, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Susan Hanson, School of Geography, Clark University. Appointed by the NRC’s Report Review Commit- tee, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the rapporteurs and the institution. Finally, we recognize the many federal agencies that support CNSTAT directly and through a grant from NSF. Without their support and their com - mitment to improving the national statistical system, the workshop that is the basis of this report would not have been possible. Hal S. Stern, Chair Steering Committee for the Workshop on the Future of Federal Household Surveys
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Contents 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Workshop Focus, 2 Workshop Organization, 3 Plan of the Report, 3 2 THE FEDERAL HOUSEHOLD SURVEY SYSTEM AT A CROSSROADS 5 Federal Household Data Collections in the United States, 5 Survey Harmonization in the United Kingdom, 8 Discussion, 11 Statistics Without Surveys? Data Collection in the Netherlands, 14 Canada’s Household Survey Strategy, 15 Discussion, 19 3 SAMPLING FRAMES 23 Using Large Surveys to Assist in Frame Development for Smaller Surveys, 23 The Potential Role of the American Community Survey in Sampling Rare Populations, 26 Sampling Frames for Federal Household Surveys: A Vision for the Future, 30 Discussion, 31 ix
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x CONTENTS 4 COLLECTION OF HOUSEHOLD DATA 35 New Data Collection Modes and the Challenge of Making Them Effective, 35 Integrating Administrative Records into the Federal Statistical System 2.0, 41 The Role of Administrative Records in Household Surveys: The Canadian Perspective, 46 Discussion, 50 5 END OF DAY 1: DISCUSSANT REMARKS AND FLOOR DISCUSSION 55 Discussant Remarks, 55 Floor Discussion, 58 6 SMALL-AREA ESTIMATION 61 Finding the Boundaries: When Do Direct Survey Estimates Meet Small-Area Needs?, 61 Using Survey, Census, and Administrative Records Data in Small-Area Estimation, 64 Role of Statistical Models in Federal Surveys: Small-Area Estimation and Other Problems, 70 Discussion, 73 7 SURVEY CONTENT 77 Promoting Consistency: The Case of Disability Measures, 77 Different Measures for Different Purposes: The Case of Income and Poverty Measures, 79 Thinking Outside the Current American Community Survey Content Box, 82 Competing Federal Statistics and the Role of the Office of Management and Budget: Is There a Need for Official Measures?, 84 Discussion, 86 8 DISCUSSION AND NEXT STEPS 89 The Need for Change, 89 Integration of Survey Content, 90 Small-Area Estimation, 92 Integration of Sampling Frames, 92 The Role of the American Community Survey, 93 Administrative Records, 94 Broader Integration of Data Collections, 95 REFERENCES 97 Appendix: Workshop Agenda 99