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From AEAStat staff:
 
On May 11, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors invited public comment on the design and implementation of the annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED) through 2023. Comments are due by July 10, 2020.  
 
The SHED is used to collect insightful information from consumers concerning the well-being of U.S. households and how individuals and their families are faring in the economy. The collected information could be used for the Board's Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households; Board studies or working papers; professional journals; the Federal Reserve Bulletin; testimony and reports to the Congress; or other vehicles.  
 
The SHED questionnaire includes such topics as individuals' overall financial well-being, employment experiences, income and savings behaviors, economic preparedness, access to banking and credit, housing and living arrangement decisions, education and human capital, student loans, and retirement planning. The overall content of the SHED questionnaire depends on changing economic, regulatory, or legislative developments as well as changes in the financial services industry. In April 2020, the Board conducted a SHED supplemental survey to ascertain the impacts of the pandemic on household economics and decisionmaking.
 
Federal Register notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/05/11/2020-09940/proposed-agency-information-collection-activities-comment-request
SHED website -- including October 2019 report with April 2020 COVID supplement: https://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerscommunities/shed.htm   
Public use files: https://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerscommunities/shed_data.htm
Draft 2020 supporting statement: https://www.federalreserve.gov/reportforms/formsreview/FR%203077%20OMB%20SS.pdf
Point of contact:  SHED@frb.gov
  
The Board proposes to revise the SHED questionnaire by changing some of the core questionnaire questions to reduce the time respondents spend on specific questions by simplifying the language, as well as incorporating additional questions on emerging economic issues, and removing questions that do not require that new data be collected on an annual basis. These proposed revisions would be effective immediately.
 
The Board anticipates conducting the SHED questionnaire annually with as many as 21,500 respondents per survey, including those who are sent the questionnaire but opt not to complete it. The SHED data collection will be performed by a third-party a vendor selected through a competitive bidding process who maintains an online probability-based Internet panel. An online probability-based Internet panel is defined here as a panel of voluntary respondents that have been recruited through an address-based sampling methodology (ABS) using the Delivery Sequence File of the United States Postal Service technique or other similar technique that would allow for equal probability of selection into the panel for all potential respondents. The ABS Internet panel allows the same respondents to be re-interviewed in subsequent surveys, as the respondents remain active in the panel for several years.  

The Board expects the questionnaire would be conducted in the third or fourth quarter each year. The Board expects to publish the SHED questionnaire used each year, the responses to that questionnaire (without any individual respondent’s PII), and the final report regarding the results of the questionnaire on the Board’s public website. This information is typically posted in the second quarter of the year, approximately 6 to 9 months after the data was collected on the SHED questionnaire.

The SHED questionnaire is comprised of a significant section of core content, which remains largely the same each year. The SHED questionnaire also normally includes a number of special questions to address the Board’s need for information on emerging risks and trends that affect consumers.

The core content of the SHED questionnaire is comprised of the following topics:
 
Living Arrangements: respondents report information on the types of people living in the household and why these individuals are living together.
 
General Well-Being: respondents report information on the major life events that have affected them in the last year and how they are managing financially.
 
Employment: respondents report information on their:
• recent or current labor market status and desired status,
• recent employment benefits and satisfaction,
• interactions with the labor market, and
• perception of their human capital and skills.
 
Gig Economy: respondents report information on infrequent, informal activities (also known as gig activities) that they performed in to earn money, including the amount of time spent on these activities, the main reasons for performing them, and the amount of income earned.
Housing: respondents report on their housing arrangement and satisfaction with their housing situation.
 
Rent: respondents report information on:
• whether they have even been evicted,
• the reason for their current rental status,
• their rental experience, and
• their monthly rent payment.
 
Homeownership and Mortgage: respondents report information on the amount of their monthly mortgage payments.
 
Banking: respondents report on whether they have an account with a bank and whether they have recently used alternative financial services.
 
Credit Application: respondents report on their confidence in being approved for credit and their recent experiences applying for credit.
 
Credit Condition: respondents report on:
• the ways that they manage their finances,
• the perception of their credit score, and
• their experiences with having and using credit.
 
Education: respondents report information on:
• their recent, current, and expected future education,
• the reasons for not attending or completing an educational program, and
• their perceptions of the value (cost vs benefit) of their most recent educational program.  
 
Student Loans: respondents report information on their use of and experiences with student loans.
 
Retirement Planning: respondents report information on:
• the types of retirement savings or pension plans they have and their use of these plans,
• their comfort with making investment decisions related to these plans,
• their reasoning for or planned age in which to retire, and
• their source of funds for retirement.
 
Income and Consumption: respondents report information on their savings and expenses, as well as sources and variability of income.
 
Financial Support From Outside the Home: respondents report information on whether they receive assistance from and/or provide assistance to anyone outside of the household for bill payment.
 
Emergency Fund: respondents report information on their emergency savings and their ability to pay emergency unexpected expenses.
 
Health and Insurance: respondents report whether:
• they recently chose to forgo medical treatment due to the expense,
• paid for an unexpected medical expense out of pocket, and
• are currently covered by health insurance.
 
Financial Hardship: respondents report information on economic hardships that they recently experienced and the financial strain the hardships caused.
 
Childhood Background: respondents report information on where they grew up and the highest level of education that their parents received.
 
Financial Literacy: respondents answer questions used to gauge their understanding of financial markets.
 
Other Ad-hoc Topics Related to Financial Well-Being: examples of previous ad-hoc topics include issues such as experiences with auto loans, usage of mobile banking tools, experiences with discrimination, desired neighborhood characteristics, as well as follow-up questions related to the core content areas above.

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