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Uses of SIPP

The main objective of the SIPP is to provide accurate and comprehensive information about the income and program participation of individuals and households in the United States.  

The survey’s mission is to provide a nationally representative sample for evaluating:

  1. annual and sub-annual income dynamics,  
  2. movement into and out of government transfer or assistance programs, and  
  3. effects of our changing family and social situations for individuals and households.

A major use of the SIPP has been to evaluate the use of and eligibility for government programs and to analyze the impacts of modifications to those programs. These kinds of information help in evaluating the economic status of the nation, show how things change, and give policy makers the facts that enable them to make better economic decisions. 

SIPP produces national-level estimates for the U.S. resident population and subgroups. Although the SIPP design allows for both longitudinal and cross-sectional data analysis, SIPP is intended to primarily to support longitudinal studies. SIPP's longitudinal features allow the analysis of selected dynamic characteristics of the population, such as changes in income, eligibility for and participation in transfer programs, household and family composition, labor force behavior, and other associated events.

One of the most important reasons for conducting SIPP is to gather detailed information on participation in transfer programs. Data from SIPP allow analysts to examine concurrent participation in multiple programs. SIPP data can also be used to address the following types of questions:

  • How have changes in eligibility rules or benefit levels affected recipients?  
  • How have changes in the eligibility rules affected the program target population, that is, those eligible to receive benefits?  
  • How does income from other household members affect labor force participation and reasons for not working?  
  • How do wealth and income patterns differ for various age, gender, and racial groups?

Because SIPP is a longitudinal survey, capturing changes in household and family composition over a multiyear period, it can also be used to address the following questions: 

  • What factors affect change in household and family structure and living arrangements?
  • What are the interactions between changes in the structure of households and families and the distribution of income?  
  • What effects do changes in household composition have on economic status and program eligibility?  
  • What are the primary determinants of turnover in programs such as Food Stamps?
  • What factors affect change in household and family structure and living arrangements? 


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