Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Providing Relief and Recovery Services After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Response Rates

12/20/2008

The survey response rate is an important measure of the quality of a survey. Its importance depends upon whether the nonrespondents would have answered the survey questions differently. To calculate the response rate, we divide the number of organizations that responded to the survey by the number of organizations that were sampled for the survey, minus the organizations determined not to be operating at the time of the study. However, there were many organizations that we were never able to contact and thus potentially might not have been operating at the time of the survey. Therefore the response rate for this study is an estimated response rate using the final call disposition results shown in Table A3.

Table A3.
Final Call Disposition Results
Final Call Disposition N Percentage
Responding organizations 271 44.1
Nonresponding organizations 133 21.6
Unable to contact 111 18.0
Organizations not operating at the time of the study 100 16.3
TOTAL 615 100

If we assume all the unable-to-contact organizations were not in operation, we would report a 67.1 percent response rate: (271/(615 - 211)) or 271/404 = 67.1.

If we assume all the unable-to-contact organizations were in operation at the time of the survey, we would report a 52.6 percent response rate: (271/(615 -100)) or 271/515 = 52.6.

We believe the best estimate would be to assume that the proportion of the unable-to-contact organizations that are not in operation would be the same as the proportion of organizations that were not in operation in the sample for which we were able to determine their operating status. More specifically, we were able to determine operating status for 504 organizations (that is, 615-111 = 504). Hence the overall estimated response rate for this study is 55 percent: (271/(615-100- (100/504) x 111)) = 271/493 = 55.0 .

Table A4 shows the response rate for each sampling stratum. The calculation of this rate assumes that the proportion of the unable-to-contact organizations that were not in operation would be the same as the proportion of organizations not in operation from that sampling stratum.

Table A4.
Response Rates by Geographic Strata
Location Churches
(%)
Nonprofits
(%)
Primary impact Mississippi 54.9 78.7
Primary impact Louisiana 50.9 72.9
Secondary impact Mississippi 36.7 70.0
Secondary impact Louisiana 44.3 74.1
Tertiary Mississippi 45.0 66.7
Tertiary Louisiana 24.3 83.3
Tertiary Texas 33.6 52.6
 TOTAL 42.7 71.8

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