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Cognitive Testing Results for the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement

Working Paper Number rsm2021-06
Kathleen Kephart, Jonathan Katz, Matthew Virgile, Rodney Terry, Jessica Holzberg


This report documents the results from cognitive testing of the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (CPS FSS). Testing was conducted from June 2019 to October 2019 by the Center for Behavioral Science Methods at the U.S. Census Bureau (CBSM). The purpose of this testing was to: 1) ascertain how participants interpreted new questions and modifications to existing questions about food insecurity and food purchases, 2) make sure the language in existing survey questions was still relevant to respondents, and 3) test the feasibility of changing the order of two topic sections in the survey. Overall, we found that new questions performed well, minor updates to language helped ensure the questions were understood as intended, and changing the order did not introduce any issues. This report contains the results from three rounds of testing as well as CBSM’s final recommendations for wording for the instrument.


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