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


Most survey instruments used similar income measures. The WES, NSAF, SPD, Missouri, Nebraska, and Illinois surveys all asked for other household members income and total household income during the past month and past year. However, only the WES, Nebraska, and Illinois surveys asked for a respondents income separately during the same time frame.

Most surveys asked whether the respondent received any money during the past month from various government assistance programs, from family and friends, and from any other sources, as well as the amounts received for each. In addition, the WES, Missouri, and Alameda surveys asked whether any foster child payments were received during the past month, and the amount. The WES and Illinois surveys also asked whether any money was received from other household members last month, and the amount.

The WES and Nebraska surveys asked the respondent to rate the difficulty of living on their present household income. The WES asked about the perceived hardship of making ends meet in the coming two months, and whether the respondent engaged in any informal job activities (specified by reading a list) during the past six months in order to make money.

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