Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)—The PSID is a longitudinal survey that began in 1968 and has followed several thousand families ever since that time. It is conducted by the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research of the University of Michigan. While the PSID’s original funding agency was the Office of Economic Opportunity of the Department of Commerce, the study’s major funding source is now the National Science Foundation. Substantial additional funding has been provided by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, and the Center on Philanthropy at the Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.
The PSID emphasizes the dynamic aspects of economic and demographic behavior, but its content is broad, including sociological and psychological measures. From 1968 to 1996, the PSID interviewed individuals in the original sample of about 4,800 families every year, whether or not they were living in the same dwelling or with the same people. In 1997 interviewing was changed to every other year, the original sample was reduced, and a sample of Hispanic families added in 1990 was replaced by a sample of post 1968 immigrant families and their adult children of all ethnic groups. The current sample of families, including those formed by children leaving their parental home, is about 8,000.
Citation studies show that since 1968, more than 2,000 journal articles, books and book chapters, government reports, working papers, and dissertations have been based upon the PSID. The PSID was founded to study poverty and the effects of programs to combat poverty, and an important early finding was that family structure changes such as divorce are as important to family well-being as employment. As the survey has added content and extended its period of observation, the data have also contributed importantly to studies of intergenerational patterns of work, welfare receipt, and other behaviors, international comparisons with panel data from other countries, neighborhood effects on family well-being (using data files augmented with census-based characteristics of sample members’ communities), and long-term trends in marital and fertility histories and living arrangements.