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Measuring Household Experiences during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Measuring Household Experiences during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Data collection for Phase 3.8 of the Household Pulse Survey started on March 1, 2023 and is scheduled to continue until May 8, 2023. This latest version of the survey will continue with a two-weeks on, two-weeks off collection and dissemination approach.

What is the Household Pulse Survey?

The U.S. Census Bureau, in collaboration with multiple federal agencies, is in a unique position to produce data on the social and economic effects of coronavirus and other emergent issues on American households. The Household Pulse Survey is designed to deploy quickly and efficiently, collecting data to measure household experiences during the coronavirus pandemic and recovery. Data will be disseminated in near real-time to inform federal and state response and recovery planning.

Note: The COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker, which focused on the number of Americans receiving at least one-dose of a COVID-vaccine, has been discontinued following phase 3.2 of the HPS. Data users can continue to access an archived version from the HPS Research and Presentations webpage.

If you have been invited to participate in the survey, find more information here.

What information does the Household Pulse Survey collect?

The Household Pulse Survey measures how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting households across the country from a social and economic perspective.

The HPS continues asking about core demographic household characteristics (including sexual orientation and gender identity), as well as asking questions about the following topics:

  • Access to infant formula
  • Childcare arrangements and cost
  • COVID-19 vaccinations and long COVID symptoms and impact
  • Education, specifically K-12 enrollment
  • Employment
  • Food sufficiency
  • Housing security
  • Household spending, including energy expenditures and consumption
  • Inflation concerns and changes in behavior due to increasing prices 
  • Physical and mental health
  • Rental assistance from state and local governments
  • Transportation, including behavioral changes related to the cost of gas
  • Health insurance coverage (including Medicaid)
  • Impact of living through natural disasters

The data collected will enable the Census Bureau to produce statistics at the national and state levels and for the 15 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (metro areas).

When will Data be Made Available from the Household Pulse Survey?

Data releases for Phase 3.8 of the survey are scheduled for March 22, April 19, and May 17, 2023.

What are the previous collection cycles of the survey?

Phase 1: April 23, 2020 - July 21, 2020

Phase 2: August 19, 2020 - October 26, 2020

Phase 3: October 28, 2020 - March 29, 2021

Phase 3.1: April 14, 2021 - July 5, 2021

Phase 3.2: July 21, 2021 – October 11, 2021

Phase 3.3: December 1, 2021 – February 7, 2022

Phase 3.4: March 2, 2022 – May 9, 2022

Phase 3.5: June 1, 2022 – August 8, 2022

Phase 3.6: September 14, 2022 – November 14, 2022

Phase 3.7: December 9, 2022 – February 13, 2023

How is the Household Pulse Survey Different from Other Surveys Conducted by the Census Bureau?

The Census Bureau and its federal statistical partners are considered the preeminent source of the nation's most important benchmark surveys.  Many of these surveys have been ongoing for more than 80 years and provide valuable insight on social and economic trends. 

The production of these benchmark surveys is by nature a highly deliberative process.  While efforts are underway to introduce COVID-19 questions into some of these surveys, that process can take months, sometimes years, before data are made publicly available.  

The approach for the Household Pulse Survey is different: it is designed to be a short-turnaround instrument that provides valuable data to aid in the pandemic recovery. The Census Bureau is fielding the Household Pulse Survey as a part of the agency’s Experimental Data Series; as such, data products may not meet some of the Census Bureau’s statistical quality standards. Data are subject to suppression based on overall response and disclosure avoidance thresholds.

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Page Last Revised - March 13, 2023
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