OMB Information Collection Request
Supporting Statement A
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Census Bureau
Household Pulse Survey
During the Coronavirus Pandemic
OMB Control Number 0607-1013
Explain the circumstances that make the collection of information necessary. Identify any legal or administrative requirements that necessitate the collection. Attach a copy of the appropriate section of each statute and regulation mandating or authorizing the collection of information.
Starting in March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has introduced extraordinary social and economic changes for American households. Since its rapid launch in April, 2020, the Household Pulse Survey has collected near real-time data on the experiences of American households as the coronavirus pandemic prompted business and school closures, and widespread stay-at-home orders, and later as businesses and schools started to reopen. These data are released frequently, guiding the response and recovery from the pandemic.
One of the features of the Household Pulse Survey is its ability to rapidly respond to evolving information needs. Nonetheless, the Census Bureau has consulted closely throughout with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure that the survey complies with the Paperwork Reduction Act. This Request for a Revision to an Existing Collection is submitted concurrently with a 30-day public comment period in keeping with the principles of government transparency and public participation.
The launch of revised content described in this package will be considered a new data collection cycle under Phase 3 as approved by OMB (e.g., Phase 3.1, Phase 3.2, Phase 3.3, etc.). Each data collection cycle will consist of approximately three data collection periods lasting two weeks each. The Census Bureau will continue its engagement with OMB, other agencies, and stakeholders to determine the content for additional collection cycles to remain responsive to evolving data needs. It is anticipated that the Household Pulse Survey content will be reviewed quarterly or as the need and relevance of the existing content changes. To facilitate the introduction of new content and a new data collection cycle, the Census Bureau may take a short break in data collection. Such breaks will be communicated via the Census Bureau’s website. See below for the content review schedule. Changes to the schedule for Phase 3.6, including any breaks in data collection, will be submitted to OMB for review and approval. Proposed changes to the survey content for Phase 3.6 will be announced through the Federal Register along with an opportunity for public comment.
Household Pulse Survey Content Review and Revision Schedule
Data Collection Cycle
Content Review and Revision
Data Collection Start
Data Collection End
3/2022 – 4/2022
6/2022 – 7/2022
9/2022 – 10/2022
The Census Bureau commits to continuous evaluation of the usefulness of the content of the survey in consultation with OMB. Depending on the continuing need for data from the Household Pulse Survey, the Census Bureau may pause or conclude data collection activities prior to the clearance expiration date.
In circumstances that meet the requirements for Emergency Clearance under 5 CFR 1320.13, Census may request OMB approval to receive public comment concurrent with the collection of new or revised items or methods.
History of Household Pulse ICRs
Initial emergency clearance to conduct the Household Pulse Survey was approved by OMB on April 19, 2020 for a period through July 31, 2020. OMB subsequently approved an extension of the emergency clearance for the balance of the 180 days authorized under 5 CFR Section 1320, Paperwork Reduction Act, specifically 1320.13, Emergency Processing. This extension was granted in light of the continuing pandemic and recognition that the Household Pulse Survey data were widely used and valued by government officials and others managing response and recovery efforts. This extension of emergency clearance expired October 31, 2020.
In the interim, the Census Bureau put forward a regular (non-emergency) Information Collection Request (ICR) for OMB review on September 17, 2020. OMB approved this ICR on October 30, 2020 for three years (OMB No. 0607-1013; expiration October 31, 2023). Under this three-year clearance, quarterly phases of data collection are approved for collection individually by OMB.
For the purposes of referencing prior ICRs, we refer to the ICR approvals to conduct the Household Pulse Survey as follows:
Phase 1 – Emergency clearance granted by OMB for the data collection period April – July, 2020
Phase 2 – Extended emergency clearance granted for the data collection period August – October, 2020
Phase 3 – Normal clearance granted starting October 30, 2020 through October 30, 2023. Subsequent revisions to the questionnaire, are referred to as “Phase 3.1,” Phase 3.2,” “Phase 3.3,” etc.
The regular clearance for Phase 3 was initially conditioned upon the Census Bureau taking a temporary hiatus in data collection at the end of December 2020 to evaluate the continued efficacy of the survey, and to make revisions as needed. However, given information about the trajectory of the pandemic in early December, it seemed imprudent to take the hiatus as planned at the end of that month. Doing so would have meant that Household Pulse Survey would not have collected data in the months of January or February 2021 when the pandemic was still in an acute stage – and when the data produced by the Household Pulse continued to be useful to the public in understanding how American households would be faring during this period.
The Census Bureau therefore submitted a non-substantive request to OMB on December 22, 2020 to request approval for continuing collection of the current Phase 3 instrument through January and March 2021. Additionally, the Census Bureau proposed adding questions to the Phase 3 instrument immediately regarding individuals’ intention to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and to release pre-approved questions on the economic stimulus payments given the payments were being issued. Given that time was of the essence for these items, we requested approval to include them effective the data collection cycle starting January 6, 2021. To maintain balance with regard to the estimated burden to the public, we also proposed removing questions from the current survey for which we find utility has declined over time to accommodate the addition of the intent to vaccinate questions.
To continue the survey without hiatus, the Census Bureau submitted a revision request for the Phase 3.1 questionnaire in March 2021. To keep the participant burden low and encourage response, the Bureau reviewed the Household Pulse Survey instrument to identify questions for which relevancy or utility declined and addressed requests for new information emanating from previous public comment and consultation with other Federal agencies. Additional questions addressed the following new topics: disability, child health access, telehealth and childcare.
The Census Bureau submitted a revision request for the Phase 3.2 questionnaire in June 2021. To ensure public burden was not increased, the revisions reflected the removal of questions for which utility has declined over time, and the addition of topics based on public comment previously received and in consult with other Federal agencies. Removals included questions on Unemployment Insurance applications; Social Security Administration program receipt and application; Reasons for changed spending; Ride sharing/transit use; trips over 100 miles; Spending on groceries and prepared foods; Delayed and Forgone medical care; and K-12 computer use and internet access. New questions focused on the Child Tax Credit; sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI); rent/mortgage arrears; utility arrears and restrictions; summer catchup education activities for K-12; and preventive health care for children. Summer catchup education activities for K-12 children, post-secondary education, and child preventive care items were fielded for three data collection cycles then removed because these estimates were unlikely to change over short periods of time.
The Census Bureau submitted a revision request for the Phase 3.3 questionnaire. Specifically, Phase 3.3 included modifications to questions relating to vaccinations that expanded response options for the number of doses and brand of COVID-19 vaccine received; three items asked in prior phases were reinstated with regard to unemployment insurance benefits, with a modified reference period; and a question was reinstated relating to use of public transit and ridesharing. We will also shifted from bi-weekly to monthly data collection in Phase 3.3 as changes in data no longer warranted bi-weekly data collection and we worked to reduce respondent burden.
A revision request for Phase 3.4 Household Pulse Survey questionnaire was submitted in January of 2022. Phase 3.4 included a new question on receipt/intention to receive a vaccine booster; modifications to questions relating to children’s vaccinations that expand response options to include children’s age categories; modified reference periods for school enrollment and spending questions; the removal of an educational catch-up question; and a reinstated question related to distance learning.
In April 2022, the Census Bureau submitted a revision request for Phase 3.5 of the Household Pulse Survey. Revisions to Phase 3.5 included new questions on timing of positive coronavirus test, use of coronavirus treatments, the experience of long COVID symptoms, amount of monthly rent and changes in monthly rent, children’s mental health, and difficulty with self-care and communicating. Questions related to food expenditures were reinstated for Phase 3.5. There were also modifications to existing questions, including changing the focus of one vaccination question from reasons for not receiving the vaccine to reasons for not receiving a vaccine booster dose, modifying the questions on children’s vaccines to include both age group and number of vaccine doses received, and a revised question on number of days teleworked (if any). Several questions were removed from the Phase 3.5 questionnaire, including questions on the number of vaccine doses and brand of vaccine received, intention to receive vaccine, mental health prescriptions and services use and unmet needs, preventive care for children, confidence in paying rent or mortgage on time, and some questions on household activities.
To ensure that the data collected by the Household Pulse Survey continue to meet information needs as they evolve over the course of the pandemic, the Census Bureau is submitting this Request for Revision to an Existing Collection for a revised Phase 3.6 Household Pulse Survey questionnaire. Phase 3.6 includes new questions on the ability to carry out day-to-day activities due to experiencing long COVID, non-parental childcare arrangements and costs of childcare, changes in transportation behaviors due to cost of gas, a series of questions regarding access to infant formula, and inflation and changes in behavior due to increasing prices. Questions on K-12 enrollment and educational catch-up activities will be reinstated for Phase 3.6. There are also modifications to existing questions, including changing the reference period for the unemployment insurance items, adding Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) as a response option to the question that asks about how households meet spending needs, and replacing employment categories with the standard North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Several questions will be removed for Phase 3.6, including questions on lack of access to childcare, use of public transportation and ridesharing, working or volunteering outside the home, receipt and use of the Child Tax Credit, post-secondary educational disruptions, and telehealth for adults and children.
A revised questionnaire can be found in Attachment A.
The Census Bureau has published a notice in the Federal Register with 30 days of public comment. Once the public comment period has closed and subject to receiving clearance from OMB for Phase 3.6, the Census Bureau would plan to deploy the revised questionnaire on or about September 14, 2022.
Ongoing information regarding the quality of the Household Pulse Survey data is available in the Source & Accuracy Statements associated with each data release (see Attachment B for example).
The proposed revised questionnaires can be reviewed in Attachment A. The statement to respondents related to the Privacy Act and Paper Reduction Act is included in Attachment C. The language we propose to use to contact respondents, including invitations to participate via email and SMS text, is in Attachment D.
The collection is authorized under Title 13 United States Code, Sections 8(b), 182, and 193.
2. Indicate how, by whom, and for what purpose the information is to be used. Except for a new collection, indicate the actual use the agency has made of the information received from the current collection.
Phase 3.6 of the Household Pulse Survey will continue as an experimental endeavor in cooperation with other federal agencies to produce near real-time data to understand how individuals are experiencing dimensions of daily living that may have been changed by the pandemic.
Questionnaire content for Phase 3.6 the Household Pulse Survey has been developed in close consult with the following agencies: the Census Bureau (Census); the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS); the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS); the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA/MCHB); the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS); the Department of Defense (DOD); the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) and Domestic Policy Council (DPC); the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); the Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (HHS/ASPE), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Domains include employment status and industry, income loss, consumer spending, application and receipt of benefits, food and housing costs and security, infant formula access, inflation, utility use and payment, , dimensions of physical and mental wellness, , disability, sexual orientation/gender identity, childcare arrangements and cost, , vaccine receipt and intention, and COVID testing and treatment. .
Data collected in the Household Pulse Survey have been in high demand and widely praised as a demonstration of the Federal statistical system’s ability to respond quickly to collect and disseminate high-frequency data products that inform response and recovery efforts in urgent circumstances like the pandemic. Some of the ways in which the data have been put to use include:
Federal, State and Local Agencies
National Center for Health Statistics
Dept of Housing & Urban Development
National Center for Education Statistics
USDA Economic Research Service
North Carolina Triangle J Council of Governments
Academics and NGOs
University of Utah Gardner Policy Institute
Annie E. Casey Foundation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl6OD0JwpQw; data incorporated into AEC's KIDS COUNT Data Center
Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies
All results from the Household Pulse Survey will continue to be disseminated from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Experimental Data Products Series (https://www.census.gov/data/experimental-data-products.html). This and additional information on the Household Pulse Survey available on to the public on census.gov can be found in Attachment E.
3. Describe whether, and to what extent, the collection of information involves the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or forms of information technology, e.g. permitting electronic submission of responses, and the basis for the decision of adopting this means of collection. Also, describe any consideration of using information technology to reduce burden.
The Census Bureau will conduct this information collection online using Qualtrics as the data collection platform. Qualtrics is currently used at the Census Bureau for research and development surveys and provides the necessary agility to deploy the Household Pulse Survey quickly and securely. It operates in the Gov Cloud, is FedRAMP authorized at the moderate level, and has an Authority to Operate from the Census Bureau to collect personally identifiable and Title 13-protected data.
Qualtrics is an online data collection platform that allows survey invitations to be distributed electronically via email and/or SMS. All survey initiations for the Household Pulse Survey will be distributed to sampled participants via email and SMS, and data collection will occur entirely on the web. The data collection platform is optimized for use on a mobile device, so may be used via any type of internet access.
The Census Bureau started the Household Pulse Survey (HPS) as an experimental endeavor to provide near-real time data on how people's lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To move the survey forward and learn from previous data collection cycles, the Census Bureau is taking steps to assess and strengthen the research design of this important project.
During Phase 3.5, the Census Bureau decided to cease email distributions temporarily to focus on improving the overall deliverability rates of our email universe. This effort is part of the Bureau’s ongoing activities to improve the Household Pulse Survey and address concerns with email deliverability. The HPS team made the decision to cease email distributions and to send survey invitations via short message service (SMS)-only during the final weeks of Phase 3.5 to focus on researching improvements to our email address list to improve email deliverability and coverage. The overall goal is to improve our email contacts by removing unused and outdated email addresses that routinely bounce (are undeliverable) and use fewer, more effective email addresses that have higher deliverability rates and a greater likelihood of eliciting a response.
Research and analysis continue with the objective of reinstating email distributions for Phase 3.6. If we are unable to achieve this, Phase 3.6 will continue with SMS-only invitations. To ensure that we can reach as many respondents as possible, the HPS team began testing the utility of using a shortened URL in SMS text invitations for respondent contact. This approach allows for more SMS messages (invitations and reminders) to be sent at reduced cost. We encourage all data users to continue use of the HPS data while we work to advance our methods.
4. Describe efforts to identify duplication. Show specifically why any similar information already available cannot be used or modified for use of the purposes described in Item 2 above.
The Census Bureau and its sponsoring survey partners have initiated efforts to incorporate pandemic response-related questions into the existing benchmark surveys, but those efforts are longer term. Other polls and surveys fielded to track the pandemic and its effect have been well-cataloged by the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) at https://covid-19.parc.us.com/client/index.html#/.
The Household Pulse Survey does not duplicate these efforts. First, the combination of the speed of data collection, processing, and release with the large sample of the Household Pulse, sufficient in size to produce estimates at the state level as well as for 15 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), is unique. Secondly, the sample frame is the Master Address File (MAF), which is the gold standard frame for U.S. statistics and provides sampled respondents all of the strict confidentiality protections afforded them under Title 13 U.S.C. The statistical infrastructure at the Census Bureau, and within the federal statistical system, enables the use of the MAF coupled with auxiliary and administrative data to allow for extensive procedures to ensure the ability to understand and improve the representativeness of the survey results. Thirdly, the questionnaire has been designed with input from multiple federal agencies, including BLS; USDA/ERS; HUD; CDC and NCHS; HRSA/MCHB; NCES; SSA; BTS; and the Census Bureau. As such, it is a comprehensive, omnibus instrument that efficiently produces data on multiple sectors impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and associated response. Lastly, the data will carry the imprimatur of the federal statistical system and its standards for data stewardship, objectivity and transparency.
5. If the collection of information impacts small businesses or other small entities, de scribe any methods use d to minimize burden.
The collection of this information does not involve small businesses or other small entities.
We designed the survey questions to obtain the required information with minimal respondent burden. Further, there are no legal issues that influence respondent burden.
6. Describe the consequences to Federal program or policy activities if the collection is not conducted or is conducted less frequently, as well as any technical or legal obstacles to reducing burden.
Continuing this collection helps track changes since the early days of the pandemic in the U.S. (April, 2020) and inform recovery from this unprecedented experience for our country. As the nation is continuing its vaccination program, the Census Bureau commits to continuous evaluation of the content of the survey in consultation with OMB, other agencies, and stakeholders.
The Census Bureau proposes a data collection cycle that allows publication of results on a monthly basis. As discussed above, the frequency and timeliness of the Household Pulse Survey is a key component of its ability to meet the needs of policymakers. The Census Bureau will review all existing and new items to ensure that the burden created by this frequency of collection is justified by the value of producing monthly estimates. Changes to the needs of policymakers in the future may result in less frequent (monthly) data releases or pauses in data collection.
7. Explain any special circumstances that would cause an information collection to be conducted in a manner:
requiring respondents to report information to the agency more often than quarterly;
requiring respondents to pre pare a written response to a collection of information in fewer than 30 days after receipt of it;
requiring respondents to submit more than an original and two copies of any document;
requiring respondents to retain records, other than health, medical, government contract, grant-in-aid, or tax re cords for more than three years;
in connection with a statistical survey, that is not designed to produce valid and reliable results than can be generalized to the universe of study;
requiring the use of a statistical data classification that has not been reviewed and approved by OMB;
that includes a pledge of confidentiality that is not supported by authority established in statute or regulation, that is not supported by disclosure and data security policies that are consistent with the pledge, or which unnecessarily impede s sharing of data with other agencies for compatible confidential use; or
requiring respondents to submit proprietary trade secrets, or other confidential information unless the agency can demonstrate that it has instituted procedures to protect the information’s confidentiality to the extent permitted by law.
Collection of these data is conducted in a manner consistent with the guidelines in 5 CFR 1320.5. We note two special circumstances related to this collection, specifically:
Due to the design of the Household Pulse Survey and its purpose in providing data on a near-time basis to inform on response and recovery efforts associated with the pandemic, survey respondents are asked to complete the survey within a period of 13 days from their receipt of communication from the Census Bureau requesting their participation. After 13 days, the data collected in that period is processed and released within two weeks. For Phase 3.5, a new sample of households will be released once every month.
The Census Bureau randomly selects households in numbers sufficient to produce and disseminate statistics at a state level. Generally speaking, the sample is selected in a manner such that no household would be selected to participate in the Household Pulse Survey more than once; however, it is possible that this may occur in states with small populations in order to continue producing data for those states. In those limited cases, it is possible that a given household may be asked to respond to the survey more than once in a calendar quarter.
8. If applicable, provide a copy and identify the date and page number of publication in the Federal Register of the agency’s notice, required by 5 CFR 1320.8(d), soliciting comments on the information collection prior to submission to OMB. Summarize public comments received in response to that notice and describe actions taken by the agency in response to the comments. Specifically address comments received on cost and hour burden. Describe efforts to consult with persons outside the agency to obtain their views on the availability of data, frequency of collection, the clarity of instruction and record keeping, disclosure, or reporting format (if any), and on the data elements to be recorded, disclosed, or reported.
The Census Bureau published Federal Register Notices informing the public of the Household Pulse Survey on May 19, 2020 (85 FR 29922-29923), June 3, 2020 (85 FR 34178-34179), February 1, 2021 (86 FR 7692-7693), June 21, 2021 (86 FR 33214), September 16 (86 FR 51653), October 26, 2021 (86 FR 59114), January 24, 2022 (87 FR 3496), and April 18, 2022 (87 FR 22869). A 30-day notice referencing this Phase 3.6 Revision ICR is pending publication in July 2022 to the Federal Register concurrent to this request. In response to Notices published to date, the Census Bureau received comments from organizations and private citizens. The comments are available in Attachment F, and summarized as follows:
Of the 37 comments, 36 comments offered positive feedback conveying the value of the Household Pulse Survey in terms of its timeliness and the breadth of data made available; one comment offered negative feedback, indicating that the government and its data cannot be trusted.
Thirty-two comments explicitly requested that the Household Pulse Survey be continued, with one recommending increased funding for the Household Pulse Survey; one commenter believed it should not be continued.
Thirteen comments indicated a desire to include additional content on the questionnaire focused on childcare; two comments indicated a similar desire for content relating to other dependent care demands (e.g., older parents, family member with disabilities)
Twelve comments indicated a desire for the survey to collect age ranges for children under 18.
Three comments indicated an interest in more information on the impacts the pandemic has had on children.
One comment indicated a desire for additional questions on educational reopenings.
One comment indicated a desire for the survey to collect information on household relationships.
One comment recommended improvements to the health insurance questions currently on the survey.
One comment recommended content on work conditions and employees’ sense of feeling safe and protected at the workplace relative to availability of PPE, social distancing and other practices designed to slow contagion.
One comment expressed interest in the survey including questions on households’ access and use of P-EBT benefits.
One comment requested the continuation of the child preventive care item
One comment suggested the inclusion of a follow-up question about ability of children and families to access timely access to mental health services
One comment recommended including questions about children contracting COVID and the type and length of symptoms experienced and including “contracting COVID” as a reason child(ren) are unable to attend childcare
One comment suggested that questions on long COVID should be asked of all respondents who reported having had COVID as well as modifying the long COVID symptoms list, and include long COVID as a reason why respondent was not working or had to alter secondary education plans
Two commenters emphasized the importance of including LGBT/SOGI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Sexual Orientation Gender Identity) measures and one commenter suggested that we develop an intersex demographic measure and expanded SOGI measures.
One comment expressed concerns that the survey’s online data collection mode could present a participation barrier for respondents, particularly those in the Latino community, given the “digital divide” in the U.S., and encouraged the Census Bureau to consider additional modes of collection.
One commenter recommended increasing the sample size and including Puerto Rico and U.S. territories to the sample
One commenter requested additional data tables that crosstab gender and race, gender and households with and without children, and other gender-based data points.
One commenter requested more guidance on how the use the data and its limitations through the posting of additional documentation.
One commenter suggested publishing microdata sooner
Two commenters made suggestions on how to improve current questions
We received one comment outside of the public comment period. This commenter requested that we collect data on current income and that we add nativity status, parental status, and age of children to the demographics section.
The Census Bureau appreciates the feedback received and has taken these important comments and recommendations under advisement, particularly the preponderance of requests for questions relating to childcare. Should additional collection cycles within Phase 3 be considered, we will evaluate the content and propose deletions, additions, and revisions to the questionnaire in light of evolving data needs expressed in these comments and from other agencies and stakeholders. It is the goal of the Census Bureau and its Federal agency partners contributing to this effort that the survey continues to meet as broad a range of data needs as possible while managing household burden.
With regard to consult with outside agencies, the content and design of the Household Pulse Survey was developed initially to serve the needs of five agencies and the Census Bureau, as well as to serve as a data resource for the public benefit. Representatives of these agencies have been involved in the development of the content of the survey and in the dissemination of findings. Since its inception, interest in the survey has only grown, with additional agencies requesting content to support their data needs in supporting pandemic response. The following list contains analysts, researchers, economists, and organizational leaders who have collaborated with the Census Bureau and contributed content to the Household Pulse Survey:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, including the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health
Rebecca (Becky) Bitsko
Health Resources and Services Administration / Maternal and Child Health Bureau
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Jennifer Edgar (Deceased)
United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
National Center for Education Statistics
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Social Security Administration
Department of Defense
United States Energy Information Administration
White House Council of Economic Advisors and Domestic Policy Council
Department of Health and Human Services/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Food and Drug Administration
9. Explain any decision to provide any payment or gift to respondents, other than remuneration of contractors or grantees.
There are no payments or gifts provided to respondents.
10. Describe any assurance of confidentiality provided to respondents and the basis for the assurance in statute, regulation, or agency policy.
The information to be collected is protected under the confidentiality provisions of Title 13 U.S.C. Respondents are informed of the nature and extent of the confidentiality of the information they report in the emails they receive and in the information collection instruments.
11. Provide additional justification for any questions of a sensitive nature, such as sexual behavior and attitudes, religious beliefs, and other matters that are commonly considered private. The justification should include the reasons why the agency considers the questions necessary, the specific uses to be made of the information, the explanation to be given to persons from whom the information is requested, and any steps to be taken to obtain their consent.
The questions in the Household Pulse Survey include age, Hispanic origin, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Additionally, substantive items on program use and mental health are included as critical content. A number of these questions could be considered sensitive by some people.
The Census Bureau collects racial and ethnic data in accordance with the 1997 OMB standards on race and ethnicity. Information on race and Hispanic origin is required for many federal programs and is critical in making policy decisions, particularly for civil rights. States use these data to meet legislative redistricting principles. Potentially sensitive demographic variables, such as racial and ethnic statistics, are used in planning and evaluating government programs and policies to ensure they fairly serve the needs of each community and to monitor against discrimination in these programs and in society. Race and Hispanic origin data are also used to promote equal employment opportunities and to assess racial and ethnic disparities in health and environmental risks.
The content included on program use and mental health are central to the survey. This coronavirus pandemic impacts many parts of household life. The impact and resource use are critical aspects of the data provided for assisting government and the public understand and meet the ongoing material and non-material needs.
12. Provide estimates of the hour burden of the collection of information.
The Census Bureau estimates that, for the average household, this survey will take about 20
minutes to complete based on average time in the instrument metrics collected during the period from April through August 2021. This includes the time for reviewing the instructions and answers. We will release new sample once per month and allow households a 13-day window to respond. For each monthly collection period, we anticipate receiving 62,900 responses (total responses = 188,700). The total burden is estimated to be 62,271 hours (62,900 x 3 x 0.33 hours).
We calculate the cost of a respondent’s time to complete this survey to be $8.49. The estimated total annual respondent cost burden based on these hours is $528,681. For individuals, the wage rate is $25.72 per hour based on hourly earnings for employees as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Number of Respondents
Average Burden per Response
Householder or household member
13. Provide an estimate of the total annual cost burden to respondents or record keepers resulting from the collection of information.
We do not expect respondents to incur any costs other than that of their time to respond.
14. Provide estimates of annualized cost to the Federal government.
The government cost for this continuation of the Household Pulse Survey is approximately $2.4M. This assumes data collection for Phase 3.6 would continue for roughly 3 monthly cycles starting September 2022. Household Pulse Survey costs associated with Phase 3.5 include subscriptions costs for Qualtrics’ and fees for SMS messaging.
Data Collection Platform (Qualtrics) $ 1.9M
Instrument Design and Development $ 67K
Sample Design, Management and Estimation $ 50K
Data Product Development and Review $ 175K
Data Processing and Dissemination $ 97K
Project Management $ 83K
15. Explain the reasons for any program changes or adjustments.
The Household Pulse Survey remains experimental and changes to content, collection methods, design, and dissemination can be expected as the Census Bureau continues to learn and refine its methods. Data are expected to be collected for 13 days and released on a monthly cycle.
The Census Bureau, its partner agencies or data users may determine at specific points that changes in content, contact strategies or methodology are warranted – to make the data more useful, or to make the survey more efficient and/or less burdensome. In such cases, the Census Bureau will request approval for the change(s) from OMB and deploy approved changes through the launch of a new cycle (Phase 3.5). At this time, we seek approval of the questionnaire revisions set forth in Attachment A, which we believe to address current information needs.
16. For collections of information whose results will be published, outline plans for tabulation and publication.
The Census Bureau plans to release data monthly. Data and analysis products will be released in collaboration with the participating agencies. Tabular data and access to disclosure protected microdata through www.census.gov are expected.
17. If seeking approval to not display the expiration date for OMB approval of the information collection, explain the reasons that display would be inappropriate.
The OMB expiration date will be displayed within the data collection instrument.
18. Explain each exception to the certification statement identified in the Certification of Paperwork Reduction Act.
There are no exceptions to the certification.
Attachment A: Phase 3.6 Household Pulse Survey Questionnaire
Attachment B: Sample Source & Accuracy Statement (Data Collection Period June 1 – June 13, 2022)
Attachment C: Privacy Act/Paper Reduction Act Statement
Attachment D: Respondent Contact Language
Attachment E: Public-Facing Information on the Household Pulse Survey on census.gov
Attachment F: Federal Register Notices – Public Comments
Attachment G: Guiding Principles for Experimental Statistical Products
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