Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues. Endnotes

06/01/2002

1.  Throughout this report, the term "welfare leaver" refers to someone exiting the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or TANF programs. Note that the 13 ASPE studies cover only 11 study locations because 2 of the locations report findings from different data sources in separate reports.

2.  Collecting reliable income information can be challenging. Generally the only way to obtain information on income is to ask people a detailed series of questions which was done for the March supplements to the Current Population Survey, and few leaver studies do this. In fact, only four of the studies we examine provide information on total family income (Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, and Washington).

3.  Ethnographic interviews and focus groups with welfare leavers also could provide valuable information on leavers; however, none of the studies reviewed here relied on this of type of data.

4.  In some states, the ability to assemble records of past welfare receipt may be limited because under AFDC, such information was not vital for program administration. Under TANF with its lifetime limit, it is imperative that state data systems contain lengthy historic information on receipt for each case.

5.  Most jobs are reported to a state's UI system. Some exceptions include certain jobs in agriculture, self-employed workers, and household employees whose employers often fail to meet reporting requirements.

6.  Missouri is the only study to examine UI data from a neighboring state (Kansas).

7.  For a discussion of measurement in error in surveys of low-income populations, see Mathiowetz et al. (this volume: Chapter 6).

8.  Four states (Arizona, DC, Illinois, and Mississippi) present findings from both survey and administrative data in the same report; another four states (Missouri, North Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin) present their findings from these two data sources in separate reports.

9.  It may be possible to obtain employment and earnings information on leavers who work "out of state" by matching program data to UI data from neighboring states, but this may be too costly and time consuming for the expected benefit. Alternatively, several researchers and states have contemplated using data on the National Directory of New Hires maintained by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This database contains information on the employment and earnings of all newly hired workers in the United States. To this date, however, OCSE has not allowed anyone to use these data for research purposes.

10.  One also can attempt to do an ex post facto study of nonrespondents. This is rather costly and involves painstaking efforts to locate nonrespondents to the initial survey and interviewing them. None of the studies reviewed here attempt this; however, Mathematica Policy Research is conducting such a nonrespondent study in Iowa. The organization's goal is to locate and interview 15 nonrespondents.

11.  Groves and Wissoker (1999) use a similar approach for examining nonresponse bias in the National Survey of America's Families.

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