Thursday, September 10, 2020

Survey completion during COVID19

Alternate title: "Whoomp! (There They Went!)"

Phase 1 of the Census Bureau's Pulse Survey, which ended in July, offered a valuable look into the unfolding status of Americans during the COVID19 pandemic. Phase 2 began on August 19, and it turns out that the survey instrument was shuffled and expanded.

As revealed in a tweet by Northwestern's Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, unfortunately this change appears to have increased incompletions and nonresponse a fair amount:

I've been interested in the questions in the health module on insurance coverage. And unfortunately the redesign has created a very large discontinuity in the uninsured. Here is a graph of the Pulse data in 2020 showing the percent aged 18+ reporting no health insurance, which dove to 7.7%.

The other outlier is the Week 4 (5/21-5/26) measure, at 8.2%. 

In my earlier post I compared these statistics to readings from the American Community Survey in 2018 and earlier, and they looked pretty good. A next step would be to examine nonresponse and try to get a handle on just how big the bias is for this measure.