Initial Synthesis Report of the Findings from ASPE's "Leavers" Grants. Survey Data


Five of the twelve study areas had completed reports with results from survey data as of mid-October, 2000. There are many specific methodological differences across each survey: how the sample was selected, how potential respondents were located initially and follow-up location efforts, who conducted the survey, length of the survey and payment for completed surveys. All of these can affect a surveys response rates (the percent of all potential respondents who completed the survey) and potentially its results. We do not report on all these differences here, but focus on final sample size and response rate. Additional differences in the surveys include the exit cohort selected for the survey and the time after exit that the survey was conducted (table A3). One common factor to all the surveys is they included a mixed-mode of collection, that is, they used telephone surveys as well as in-person surveys.


Appendix Table A3:
Survey Information
Study Cohort Date Mode Sample Size Response Rate Timing of Survey After Exit
Arizona 1Q98 Phone, in person 821 72% 12-18 months
District of Columbia 4Q98 Phone, in person 277 61% 12 months
Illinois Dec 1998 Phone, in person 514 51% 6-8 months
Missouri 4Q96 Phone, in person 878 75% 26-34 months
Washington Oct 1998 Phone, in person 987 72% 6-8 months
Sources: See Appendix B for a complete listing of the leavers studies referenced.

The final sample size of the survey information varied from 987 in Washington to 277 in the District of Columbia. The response rates varied somewhat as well. Three of the five had response rates over 70 percent. The District of Columbia had a response rate of 61 percent while Illinois's was 51 percent.

Four out of five of the surveys focus on exit cohorts in 1998, late 1998 for three (Illinois, Washington, and District of Columbia). Missouri surveys the earliest exit cohort, fourth quarter of 1996, but is therefore able to survey respondents at a longer follow-up period, 30 months after initially exiting TANF. Their response rate does not seem to have suffered as a result of the long time between leaving welfare and being interviewed, relative to the other surveys. The remaining surveys interview leavers at from six to eight months after leaving (Illinois and Washington) or about 12 months after leaving (Arizona and District of Columbia). Results in this summary report try to point out the differences in timing of cohorts and time between survey and exiting.