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Tracy A. Loveless
Component ID: #ti1272626543

Test Objective

In late August through mid-December 2010, the Census Bureau conducted a field test of new and revised content in the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) Content Test. The results of that testing will determine the content to be incorporated into production ACS in 2013.

The food stamp program is now known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). A change in question wording is necessary to reflect the name change to ensure proper reporting of food stamp/SNAP receipt. Although states are encouraged to change their program name to SNAP, it is not required. Therefore, some states have changed their program name to SNAP, some states have chosen a different program name, and some states are still in the process of changing their program name. This variation across states adds to the complexity of data collection for this question.

Component ID: #ti1071568544


The Content Test compared two versions of the food stamp/SNAP question. The control version replicated the wording and response categories used in the current production ACS question. The test version included the following changes to the control version of the food stamp/SNAP question:

  • Used the new program name, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),
  • added an instruction to exclude assistance from food banks.

Component ID: #ti1071568543

Research Questions and Results

Do the changes to the food stamps question affect the estimate of households reporting receipt of food stamps?

No. There is no significant difference between the percent of households reporting receipt of food stamps in the test and control versions.

Do the changes to the food stamps question lower the item missing data rates?

No. There is no difference between the item missing data rates for the test and control versions.

Do the changes to the food stamps question improve the reliability of the data?

No. There is no difference in the gross difference rates or indexes of inconsistency between the test and control versions, suggesting that both question versions provide similar levels of data reliability. The indexes of inconsistency were low for both versions (Control 12.6 vs. Test 13.7), indicating a low inconsistency of response variability.

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