Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Review of Longitudinal Studies

10/01/2007

In addition to the cross-sectional surveys, there are several longitudinal studies that track the same person, family, or household over time. Because of the challenges and costs involved in tracking respondents, these surveys typically involve much smaller samples than cross-sectional studies and are often much more focused on specific populations and/or topics. Some of these surveys, such as the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) or the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), track people or households for only a few years. There are also two well-known, long-term longitudinal studies to consider: the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), begun in 1960, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experiences (NLS).

Longitudinal studies offer many of the same potential advantages as cross-sectional studies, and they have the added potential benefit of tracking people over time and thus may provide an opportunity to examine entries into, and exits out of, homelessness (depending on their tracking methods). However, as discussed in a later section, the longitudinal studies are smaller in overall sample size and lack the ability offered by cross-sectional studies to examine regional differences as well as various subgroups.

Table 6-3 presents a summary of the eight longitudinal surveys that were identified and reviewed for this effort according to the same features used to review the cross-sectional surveys.9 As with the cross-sectional surveys, the longitudinal surveys were initially examined according to four key selection criteria to identify surveys that offer the best opportunity to be enhanced to inform efforts to develop a typology of homeless families. Six of the eight surveys were deemed inappropriate candidates for enhancement, as discussed later. Only two surveys-the NLS 1979 cohort study and the NLS 1997 cohort study-met all four of the initial criteria.

Survey Sampling frame Sample size
and type
Frequency Oversamples How data collected Primary focus Other notes
Table 6-3. Overview of Federal longitudinal surveys
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort (ECLS – Birth)
(Sponsored by National Center for Education Statistics)
National random sample of birth certificates (or hospital records) 13,500 children born in 2001 Five waves of data collection:
  • 9 month
  • 18 month
  • 4 years
  • Kindergarten
  • 1st grade

Data collection ending in 2008

Asian, Pacific Islander, Chinese

Low and moderately low birthweight

Twins

In-home interviews with parent/ guardian

1-1 child assessments

Child and family characteristics that influence school preparedness  
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Sample (ECLS – K)
(Sponsored by National Center for Education Statistics)
National area probability of elementary schools 22,000 children in kindergarten 1998-99

Information collected on/from:

  • children
  • parents
  • teachers/school administrators
Most data collected annually for 6 years (K-5th grade) 

Some data collected semi-annually for first 2 years

Data collection ended in 2004

None Various methods:
  • 1-1 assessment
  • child interviews
  • CATI (parents)
  • self-administered (teachers, administrators)
Impact of early and middle-childhood education  
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort (ECLS – Birth)
(Sponsored by National Center for Education Statistics)
National random sample of birth certificates (or hospital records) 13,500 children born in 2001 Five waves of data collection:
  • 9 month
  • 18 month
  • 4 years
  • Kindergarten
  • 1st grade

Data collection ending in 2008

Asian, Pacific Islander, Chinese

Low and moderately low birthweight

Twins

In-home interviews with parent/ guardian

1-1 child assessments

Child and family characteristics that influence school preparedness  
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Sample (ECLS – K)
(Sponsored by National Center for Education Statistics)
National area probability of elementary schools 22,000 children in kindergarten 1998-99

Information collected on/from:

  • children
  • parents
  • teachers/school administrators
Most data collected annually for 6 years (K-5th grade)

Some data collected semi-annually for first 2 years

Data collection ended in 2004

None Various methods:
  • 1-1 assessment
  • child interviews
  • CATI (parents)
  • self-administered (teachers, administrators)
Impact of early and middle-childhood education  
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
(Sponsored by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
National area probability

(Based on NIS RDD sample)

 7,000 – 13,000 households

New waves added annually

Five interviews conducted over 2 years Blacks and Latinos

Low income

Elderly

In-person

CATI

Health care use and expenditures  
National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW)
(Sponsored by Administration for Children and Families)
Children in welfare agencies nationwide

(97 different agencies)

5,400 children

700 supplemental sample

Three to four waves of data collection:
  • baseline
  • 12 month
  • 18 month
  • 36 month possible

Project ending in 2005

Supplemental sample (700 children) in foster care In-person Demographic characteristics of children and families

Pathways and services utilized

 
Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)
(Conducted by Census Bureau)
National area probability 2001 cohort – 36,700 households

(Only original sample members reinterviewed)

Every 4 months over 3 to 4 years

2001 cohort just ended

Low-income In-person

CATI

Labor force

Income

Program

Participation and eligibility

 
National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth 1979 (NLSY79)
(Sponsored by Bureau of Labor Statistics)
National area probability sample youth/young adults

Initial NLS samples started in 1968, ended 1981

New cohorts added in 1979 and 1997

12,686 youth ages 14 to 22 in 1979

7,724 respondents in 2002 sample

Annually 1979-94

Biennially starting in 1994

Latino, Black, and economically disadvantaged nonminority

Young adults in the military (discontinued in 1985)

Initially in-person

Mostly CATI in recent years

Labor market activities Supplemental questions have been added at various waves
National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth 1997 (NLSY97)
(Sponsored by Bureau of Labor Statistics)
National area probability youth/young adults 8,984 youth ages 12 to 17 in 1997 Annually, 1997-2003 Black or Latino youth Initially in-person

CAPI

ACASI

Education

Labor market behavior

Family and community

Background

Supplemental questions have been added at various waves
Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)
(Conducted by University of Michigan)
National area probability sample

Supplemental sample of low-income families

4,800 households

65,000+ people

Annually 1968-97

Biennially starting in 1999

Initial supplemental sample of low-income families

Refresher sample added in 1997

Initially in-person

Mostly CATI more recent years (97%)

Income

Labor force

Marital status

Supplemental questions have been added at various waves

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