Survey Design for TANF Caseload Project: Summary Report and Recommendations. Common Measures Used, Pros and Cons


All survey instruments included a measure of race, although the wording of the question or questions varied greatly. The WES asked whether the respondent was White, African American, or some other race. The Missouri survey asked for the respondents race as an open-ended question without reading any categories. The Alameda survey asked the respondent what best described himself or herself; Native American or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/Chicano, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander or White/Caucasian. The Nebraska and Illinois surveys asked whether the respondent considered himself or herself to be White, Black or African American descent, Asian or Pacific Islander, or Native American or Alaskan Native.

We observed similar diversity in the question wording for the ethnicity measure. The Missouri survey asked whether the respondent considered himself or herself to be of Hispanic or Latino origin. The Nebraska survey asked whether the respondent was of Latino or Spanish descent or origin. The Alameda survey included ethnicity as a category within the race question but did not ask it as a separate measure. The Illinois survey asked two questions on ethnicity: whether the respondent was of Spanish or Hispanic origin and, if so, what was his or her specific ethnicity? The WES did not measure ethnicity.

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