Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues. Noncoverage and Nonresponse in Surveys

06/01/2002

A fundamental objective in the design of any state survey is to adequately represent the targeted population; for the state surveys under consideration here, this usually consists of low-income persons. However, the target population is not completely represented by the sample when either some persons or families are not included in the sampling frame (e.g., the administrative records if used for sampling) or information cannot be obtained for some eligible sampled persons. The term ''noncoverage" refers to situations where some units in the target population have no chance of selection into the sample. The following subsection provides more detail on reasons for survey noncoverage. The term ''nonresponse" in surveys refers to failure to obtain data for those eligible units that were selected into the sample. The subsection after that provides a summary of various sources of nonresponse in sample surveys.

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