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May 11 -- The U.S. Census Bureau invites public comments to OMB by June 12, 2023 regarding the proposed new Census Household Panel.

Early research and development work has demonstrated the value of a high-quality panel to improve representativeness and significantly reduce burden on households in the interests of collecting high-frequency data. This notice outlines plans for the development of the Census Household Panel consisting of a pool of households carefully selected and recruited by the Census Bureau to reflect the diversity of our Nation’s population. Panel participants will respond to different survey requests – or more importantly, will participate in the same survey over time to produce longitudinal data that measure change over time.

Development of this Panel at the Census Bureau allows the agency to draw representative samples accurately and quickly, responding to the need for timely insights on an array of topics and improving data outputs inclusive of historically undercounted populations. This Panel will become integral to rapidly providing insight on national events that may impact social, economic, or demographic characteristics of the population. Traditionally, Federal surveys are designed to collect and disseminate data on a slower timetable to produce statistically robust key measures of the society and economy. In keeping with growing needs for more timely information, however, the Census Bureau seeks to complement these important, established surveys with new mechanisms such as the Census Household Panel which can produce data much closer to real time as the information needs develop.

The Panel will also help us research questions related to surveys. For example, this Panel will allow us to conduct nationally representative field tests to test content changes in an efficient and reliable fashion in support of other surveys. Leveraging its experience reaching and engaging households, and its reputation for statistical rigor and transparency in the production of Federal statistics, the Census Bureau will build the Census Household Panel in-house in a manner that affords users a full understanding of the methodology in keeping with Federal statistical standards, including response rates and weighting. This transparency into the way in which the statistics are developed will provide Federal agencies the confidence necessary to use the data in their policy making.  

The Census Household Panel will recruit a probability-based nationwide nationally representative survey panel to test the methods to collect data on a variety of topics of interest, and for conducting experimentation on alternative question wording and methodological approaches. The goal of the Census Household Panel is to ensure availability of frequent data collection for nationwide estimates on a variety of topics and a variety of subgroups of the population, meeting standards for transparent quality reporting of the Federal Statistical Agencies and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The initial goal for the size of the Panel is 15,000 panelists and households selected for the Panel will come from the Census Bureau's gold standard Master Address File. This ensures the Panel is rooted in this rigorously developed and maintained frame and available for linkage to administrative records securely maintained and curated by the Census Bureau. Initial invitations to enroll in the Panel will be sent by mail and questionnaires will be mainly internet self-response. The Panel will maintain representativeness by allowing respondents who do not use the internet to respond via in-bound computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). All panelists will receive an incentive for each complete questionnaire. Periodic replenishment samples will maintain representativeness and panelists will be replaced after a period of three years.

The targeted initial invite sample size from the MAF will be 75,000 housing units.  The response rate to the initial invite is expected to ~30% resulting in ~22,500 households being included in the baseline sample. The response rate to the baseline sample is expected to be ~66% resulting in a sample size of ~15,000. These 15,000 households will be eligible for each detailed module.

Census submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202305-0607-001 Click on IC List for questionnaire, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-10040 and correction https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-10573
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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