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

08/28/2002

This topic was not well covered in the surveys. The Missouri survey asked whether the respondent was not working because there were no jobs available in their local area. The Illinois survey asked whether there was high unemployment in the neighborhood. The Youth Fair Chance (YFC) Community Survey asked two questions: whether people living in the respondents neighborhood had to travel a long way to work, and whether there was high unemployment in the neighborhood.

The question in the Missouri survey focused more directly on whether the lack of available jobs was the reason why the respondent was not working, while the YFC questions focused more on the respondents perceptions of the community. Although the former measure may appear more direct, we believe the answer could be interpreted as a transportation problem. Was the respondent not working because he or she had no transportation to get to a job outside the local area? Or was the respondent not working because he or she refused or did not want to travel outside the local area? Analysis of the answer would not be clear. We also believe the information could be collected under the employment section when asking the question why a respondent was not working.

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