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Using the National Survey of Americas Families to Assess the Impact of Welfare Reform


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Title: Using the National Survey of Americas Families to Assess the Impact of Welfare Reform

Using the National Survey of Americas Families
to Assess the Impact of Welfare Reform
  • Natalie Abi-Habib
  • Adam Safir
  • Timothy Triplett
  • Assessing the New Federalism
  • Urban Institute http//

Session Agenda
  • PART 1 Survey Overview
  • Sample Design
  • Data Collection
  • Survey Estimation
  • PART 2 Survey Resources
  • Analysis Products
  • Survey Products
  • Auxiliary Resources
  • PART 3 Online Analysis Tools

Assessing the New Federalism (ANF)
  • Mission
  • To analyze the devolution of responsibility for
    social programs from the federal government to
    the states, focusing primarily on health, income
    security, job training, social services, and
    child well-being
  • To provide timely, nonpartisan information to
    inform public debate and to help state and local
    decision makers carry out their responsibilities
    more effectively

PART 1 Survey Overview
ANF Data Collection Strategies
  • 50 state database
  • Case studies on health, income support, and
    social services
  • National Survey of Americas Families (NSAF)

PART 1 Survey Overview
National Survey of Americas Families
  • Assess well-being of children, families,
    non-elderly adults within each focal state and
    across the nation
  • Three rounds of data collection
  • 1997 (files available)
  • 1999 (files available)
  • 2002 (files currently being released)
  • Assess changes in well-being over time at the
    state and national levels.

PART 1 Survey Overview
Sample Design Features
  • Nationally representative sample
  • Sample includes households without telephones
  • Includes all non-institutionalized residents
    under 65 (including non-citizens)
  • Representative samples drawn in 13 states
  • Oversample of low-income households
  • Defined as below 200 of the Federal Poverty
  • By default, oversample of racial and ethnic
    minorities, immigrants, abused and neglected
    children and participants in government programs

PART 1 Survey Overview
NSAF Focal States
PART 1 Survey Overview
NSAF Interviewing
  • Screener Interview
  • 5 minutes
  • Sample for households with persons under 65,
    children and low income (below 200 poverty)
  • Over 130,000 completed each round
  • Extended Interview
  • 30-50 minutes
  • Broad substantive content
  • Over 40,000 completed each round

PART 1 Survey Overview
Asking About Children
  • Up to two focal children selected in each
    household (ages 0-5, 6-17)
  • Detailed questions on child well-being are asked
    about focal children (not all children in the
  • Ask Most Knowledgeable Adult (MKA) in the
    household about focal children

PART 1 Survey Overview
Asking About Adults
  • MKAs in households with children
  • For households without children, up to two adults
    (ages 18 to 64) randomly selected, who are not
    spouse/partners of each other
  • For households with children, up to two adults
    (ages 18 to 64) without minor dependent children
    in the household randomly selected, who are not
    spouse/partners of each other
  • Ask adult well-being items of respondents and

PART 1 Survey Overview
Extended Interview Content
  • Household composition, demographics
  • Health status, insurance, access, utilization,
    confidence in getting care
  • Employment, earnings, income, poverty status,
    economic hardship, child support receipt and
  • Welfare, Food Stamp, other program participation
  • Child care arrangements, social services needs
  • Child and family well-being measures

PART 1 Survey Overview
Other Interviewing Features
  • Interviews conducted in English and Spanish
  • Child care section modified for interviewing
    during summer one release group in round 2 held
    for interviewing until June for purpose of
    analyzing child care during summer months.

PART 1 Survey Overview
Household Roster Nuclear Family Structure
Sampled adults
Sampled focal children (FC)
Non-sampled (NS) persons
PART 1 Survey Overview
Household Roster Complex Family Structure
Sampled adults
Sampled focal children (FC)
Non-sampled (NS) persons
PART 1 Survey Overview
Data File StructureBased on Household Roster
Household Roster
  • File Records
  • Child Joe, Judy
  • Adult pair Mom, Hank
  • Random adult Mom OR Hank
  • Childless adult NA
  • Social family Mom, Hank, Joe, Judy
  • CPS family Mom, Joe, Judy
  • Family-resp Mom
  • Person Mom, Hank, Joe, Judy, Sally, Uncle
  • Household Household

Sampled adults
Sampled focal children (FC)
Non-sampled (NS) persons
PART 1 Survey Overview
Survey Weights
  • In general, survey weights
  • Account for sample design
  • Reduce nonresponse biases
  • Adjust for under-coverage
  • Reduce sampling error
  • NSAF weights also
  • Allow for different levels of analysis
  • Enable analysis of important subgroups
  • e.g., school-year sample

PART 1 Survey Overview
Steps in NSAF Weighting
  • Account for probabilities of selection
  • e.g. multiple telephones, income subsampling
  • Household and person level nonresponse
  • Population weighting adjustments to control
    totals on demographics such as
  • Age
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Home ownership
  • Education

PART 1 Survey Overview
National vs. State Weights
  • Any estimates of the total national population
    should use the National Weight
  • - All White Children vs. All Other Children
  • Any comparison estimates involving state or
    county level data should use the State Weight
  • - State vs. State NY vs. NJ
  • - State vs. National NY vs. USA
  • - County/City vs. State/National NYC vs. NY,
    Brooklyn vs. NYC, Long Island vs. NY

PART 1 Survey Overview
Testing Statistical Significance
  • Standard errors produced using standard packages
    will generally be underestimated
  • Standard statistical packages such as SAS, SPSS
    often assume data are from a simple random sample
    in computing standard errors
  • Need to account for features of sample design
    such as unequal probabilities of selection and
  • Replicate weights and variance strata/unit
    variables (for Taylor Series linearization) are
    available on the files

PART 1 Survey Overview
NSAF Resources
  • Analysis Products
  • Snapshots
  • Briefs, Papers, Short Takes, and Fast Facts
  • Survey Products
  • Methodology Reports
  • Questionnaire
  • Public Use Micro Data
  • Online Data Dictionary
  • Auxiliary ANF Resources
  • Online Statistical Analysis

PART 2 Survey Resources
Snapshots I II
  • Snapshots of Americas Families I
  • Children living in households with low incomes
    are markedly different from those of children in
    higher-income households
  • Status of children and adults differs greatly
    around the country
  • Snapshots of Americas Families II
  • Broad-based reductions in poverty rates, more
    work among single parents, and more families
    stating that they were able to afford food
  • Employer-sponsored health insurance coverage
    expanded for adults
  • Small decline in the percentage of children
    living in single-parent households

PART 2 Survey Resources
Snapshots of Americas Families III
  • Child and Family Well-Being
  • Trends in Parents' Economic Hardship
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Health
  • Welfare and Food Stamps
  • Children in Low-Income Families Are Less Likely
    to Be in Center-Based Child Care
  • How Much Do Welfare Recipients Know about Time
  • Health
  • Health Insurance Coverage of Children in
    Mixed-Status Immigrant Families
  • Children of Immigrants Show Slight Reductions in
    Poverty, Hardship

PART 2 Survey Resources
Additional Analysis Products
  • Policy Briefs
  • Recent Trends in Food Stamp Participation Have
    New Policies Made a Difference? (B-58)
  • Discussion Papers
  • Do Child Characteristics Affect How Children Fare
    in Families Receiving and Leaving Welfare? (DP
  • Occasional Papers
  • Squeezing SCHIP States Use Flexibility to
    Respond to the Ongoing Budget Crisis (A-65)
  • Short Takes and Fast Facts
  • Rethinking Work Requirements
  • Nearly 2 Out of 5 Welfare Recipients Lack
    Knowledge of When Their Benefits End

PART 2 Survey Resources
Methodology Reports
  • Available on the NSAF website
  • Suggested methodology reports
  • No. 1 National Survey of America's Families
    Survey Methods and Data Reliability
  • No. 2 2002 NSAF Sample Design Report
  • No. 3 2002 NSAF Snapshot Survey Weights
  • No. 4 2002 NSAF Variance Estimation
  • No. 11 Public Use Users Guide

PART 2 Survey Resources
  • Background
  • Respondent selection
  • Types of NSAF interviews
  • NSAF family definition
  • Questionnaire changes
  • Content
  • Household screener
  • Household verification
  • Extended interview

PART 2 Survey Resources
Public Use Micro Data Files
  • Enable independent research on the data
  • Downloadable from NSAF website
  • No charge, but registration required
  • Each file includes
  • Data in ASCII format
  • SAS SPSS data read-in statement
  • Data description documentation
  • Codebook

PART 2 Survey Resources
PART 2 Survey Resources
Structure of Files with Weights (Round 2)
PART 2 Survey Resources
Structure of Files without Weights (Round 2)
PART 2 Survey Resources
Merging Files
  • For two distinct populations, add the weights
  • combining adult and child data files
  • characteristics of persons under 65 from merged
  • For two overlapping populations, select the
  • combining adult data files
  • characteristics of adults from merged files
  • OR
  • combining adult and family data files
  • e.g., characteristics of adults with a certain
    number of children in their family, or the number
    of families with some characteristic from the
    adult pair, random adult, or childless adult file

PART 2 Survey Resources
Variance Estimation Using Replicate Weights
  • Each set of weights has one full sample weight
    and 60 replicate weights
  • e.g. wgfcad0 wgfcad1 - wgfacd60
  • Replication - subsample from the full sample
  • Use replicate weights provided with data files
    with an appropriate statistical package such as
    Wesvar or SUDAAN
  • Or, do the analysis 60 times
  • e.g. using macros in SAS or STATA

PART 2 Survey Resources
Data Dictionary
  • Dynamic data dictionary
  • supplements static codebooks
  • Variable look-up
  • File location information
  • Browse by topic

PART 2 Survey Resources
PART 2 Survey Resources
PART 2 Survey Resources
PART 2 Survey Resources
Auxiliary ANF Resources
  • Case Studies
  • STIC
  • Welfare Rules Database

PART 2 Survey Resources
Case Studies
  • Two Case Study Reports for Each Focal State
  • Income Support and Social Services
  • cash assistance and food stamps, social service
    programs, child care, and last resort safety net
  • Health
  • public health insurance programs, the role of
    public hospitals, and public health programs

PART 2 Survey Resources
State TANF Income Calculator
  • Powerful tool for policy analysts
  • Designed to compute net income for a one-parent
    family with two children
  • Users can select any state, target specific
    levels of work effort, and even experiment with a
    state's TANF rules and sanction policies
  • STIC will then compute the family's net income

PART 2 Survey Resources
PART 2 Survey Resources
Welfare Rules Database
  • Longitudinal account
  • changes in welfare rules in all 50 states and the
    District of Columbia
  • Organizes detailed information
  • welfare rules across states, time, and geographic
    areas within states as well as across different
    types of assistance units
  • Information on rules that are in effect at a
    point in time
  • A point-and-click interface for querying the

PART 2 Survey Resources
PART 2 Survey Resources