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Sept 15 -- OMB approved minor revisions to education and spending questions in Household Pulse Survey Phase 2 survey instrument. See  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=104497201
 
Aug 19 -- OMB approved the revised survey instrument for Phase 2 of the Household Pulse Survey. Term of clearance: By September 18, 2020, the Census Bureau will invite the public to comment on the revised survey design.  See: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202008-0607-004
 
Aug 13 -- The Census Bureau has submitted for OMB approval a revised survey instrument for Phase 2 of the Household Pulse Survey. Within 30 days of OMB approval, the Census Bureau will publish a Federal Register Notice inviting public comment on Phase 2 design.
Revised survey instrument: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=103656900
Cover letter to OMB explaining revisions and requesting approval: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=103656800
 
July 31 -- OMB approves the Census Bureau’s requested extension of the expiration date for an additional 3 months, but does not yet approve content and design for Phase 2. This approval is consistent with the understanding that the Census Bureau will submit a nonsubstantive change request to OMB that includes the proposed questionnaire and documentation detailing the justifications for the proposed content. OMB will then consider approval of the content and design for Phase 2. The Census Bureau commits to publishing a 30-day Federal Register Notice for public comment on this collection within 30 days of approval of this package.  See https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202007-0607-006
 
July 27 -- The Census Bureau filed an emergency request of OMB to approve an extension of its Household Pulse Survey into October (i.e., phase 2), and revise the survey instrument.
 
Household Pulse Survey website: https://www.census.gov/householdpulsedata  
Emergency submission to OMB:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202007-0607-006
Revised survey instrument: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=103070500
Revised supporting statement, weighting plan, and other supplementary documents: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewDocument?ref_nbr=202007-0607-006
 
The Household Pulse Survey was initially fielded as a proof of concept to test the Federal statistical system’s ability to produce data in near real-time in the face of a national emergency.  Data were first released on May 20, 2020, with updated releases made subsequently on a weekly basis. Since then, the data have been widely used to guide response and recovery efforts on the part of Federal agencies and state governments.   
 
Given the continuing nature of the pandemic, the Census Bureau seeks approval to exercise the balance of the 180 days allowable for emergency clearance. Given that households will be managing with the pandemic as a backdrop throughout the summer and fall of 2020, it would be imprudent to cease administration of the Household Pulse  Survey at the end of July, 2020.  With approval to extend the emergency clearance through the allowable 180 days, we will conduct the Household Pulse Survey through mid-October, 2020.      
 
For ease of reference herein, the Census Bureau refers to the initial deployment of the Household Pulse Survey through July 31, 2020 as “Phase 1;” plans described here to extend the data collection through the balance of time allowable under the emergency clearance are referred to as “Phase 2.”
 
Given the rapid response nature of this survey, the Census Bureau has continued to make adjustments in content and methods, and documented those through the submission of non-substantive change requests to OMB. In the ensuing months, however, there has been increasing demand from other Federal agencies to revise or add content to the Household Pulse questionnaire that would produce data in support of their own missions and response to the pandemic.  Rather than changing the survey on a continuous basis, the Census Bureau has decided to consolidate the requests into one comprehensively revised questionnaire.  

For Phase 2, the survey will carry over many of these questions to allow users to understand how these domains are changing as the pandemic continues. At the request of the NCES, BLS, the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Phase 2 will include additional questions on the application and receipt of benefits, spending patterns, post-secondary education disruptions, tobacco and alcohol use, capacity to telework, travel practices, and behavioral changes in response to the pandemic. Questions from Phase 1 that are no longer relevant will be removed; additionally, results from cognitive testing efforts may inform revisions in the questionnaire to improve comprehension and clarity of questions and response options. Many of the questions on this survey have been fielded on other surveys in the past. Others are new, designed to explore potential impacts associated with the coronavirus pandemic response.   
 
The Census Bureau thus will cease collection on the current version (i.e., Phase 1) of the Household Pulse Survey in late July, 2020, and take a brief two-week hiatus in data collection to prepare for Phase 2 collection.  The Census Bureau will deploy the Phase 2 instrument the first week of August, 2020.  This will allow us to make the necessary revisions to the questionnaire instrument, as well as adjustments to the sampling approach, protocols for contacting survey respondents, and data processing cycle.

Phase 2 data collection will initiate the first week of August. Building on lessons from Phase 1, we will release new sample every two weeks (instead of every week as was the case in Phase 1) and allow households a 13-day window to respond (instead of 6 days in Phase 1) to maximize participation and reduce overall burden. For each two-week collection period, we anticipate receiving 105,000 responses for each of 6 data collection periods from early August through late October, 2020.   
 
The total sample size over the 6 interview periods will be approximately 7 million housing units.  This represents a 9 percent response rate. One change from the Phase 1 sample design is we will no longer have a longitudinal component to the sample. The degree to which the longitudinal sample was used, and the quality of the longitudinal data given low response led us to conclude that it was not worth the burden on households selected for interviewing across multiple weeks.  Each interview periods sample will be independent from the prior samples.

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