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Phase 3.2 of Census Bureau Survey Questions Now Include SOGI, Child Tax Credit, COVID Vaccination of Children

Thom File and Jason-Harold Lee

The newest phase (3.2) of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey (HPS) will now ask respondents their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in addition to their sex.

HPS Phase 3.2 is the latest update to the experimental data collection effort to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American households.

The new version of the questionnaire, which entered the field on July 21, and is anticipated to continue through October 11, marks the first time a Census Bureau sponsored survey includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new version of the questionnaire, which entered the field on July 21, and is anticipated to continue through October 11, marks the first time a Census Bureau sponsored survey includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

It also features a variety of other new questions that capture topical events from the Child Tax Credit payments to the COVID-19 vaccinations now available for everyone ages 12 and up.

SOGI Questions

While earlier versions of the HPS asked respondents for their sex (male or female), Phase 3.2 rewords this question and adds two new items.

  • What sex were you assigned at birth on your original birth certificate?
  • Choice of answers: Male or Female.
  • Do you currently describe yourself as male, female or transgender?
  • Choice of answers: Male, Female, Transgender or None of these.

The latest version of the survey now asks about sexual orientation, too:

  • Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?
  • Choice of answers: Gay or lesbian; Straight, that is not gay or lesbian; Bisexual; Something else; I don’t know.

Results are scheduled to be released August 11.

What Else Is New in HPS?

Phase 3.2 continues to ask questions about COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccine hesitancy among U.S. adults. But it now also includes similar items for children between the ages of 12 and 17, who are now eligible for vaccination.  

In addition, the HPS has replaced previous questions about pandemic-related stimulus payments with ones about new Child Tax Credit payments.

The survey also includes a set of new questions about household energy expenditure and consumption, children’s summer educational activities and rental assistance from state and local governments.

The HPS will continue measuring core demographic household characteristics as well as asking about employment, household spending, food sufficiency, housing security and physical and mental health.

The new questions won’t add to the time it takes to complete the survey.

To reduce respondent burden, the Census Bureau removed questions whose utility had declined, including those about applying for Social Security benefits, plans for upcoming travel and expected loss of employment income.

The HPS will resume the same two-week collection and dissemination approach after release of this data.

HPS Tracks American Experience During Pandemic

The Household Pulse Survey was launched in April 2020 to quickly and efficiently gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on households.

Over the course of 33 collection cycles, HPS data have been disseminated in near- real time to inform federal and state response and recovery planning.

The data collected have enabled the Census Bureau to produce statistics at the national and state level and for the 15 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

In addition to updated detailed tables, upcoming HPS releases will include refreshes to the interactive data tool and COVID-19 vaccination tracker.

Data users will be able to continue accessing Public Use Microdata Files for every collection cycle, and current and previous HPS questionnaires will continue to be available.

The HPS is sent to about a million households every two weeks. If selected, you will receive an email from COVID.survey@census.gov or a text message from 39242. Additional information is available on the HPS respondent website.

The HPS continues to be a collaborative effort with the following federal agencies:

 

 

Thom File is a sociologist in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division.

Jason-Harold Lee is a survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division.

 

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