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Measuring Poverty: A New Approach
of 32 months (8 waves); and increasing the sample size per panel from 20,000 to 27,000 households. Under this design, two panels would be in the field each year (see Citro and Kalton, 1993). The redesign of SIPP proposed by the Census Bureau Senior Management Redesign Team calls for introducing a new panel every 4 years (i.e., with no overlap across panels); interviewing each panel at 4-month intervals for 48 months; and increasing the sample size per panel to 50,000 households.
The redesign of SIPP will be fully implemented in the 1996 panel, with a dress rehearsal in 1995. In addition to extending the length and increasing the sample size of each panel, features of the redesign include new samples drawn on the basis of information from the 1990 census, switching the data collection mode to CAPI/CATI, and changes in selected questionnaire items based on recommendations from the Panel to Evaluate SIPP and others. The new sample design for SIPP will also include an oversample of addresses in which the residents were below the poverty level in 1989, based on information from the 1990 census; proxy characteristics, such as housing tenure and family type, will be used for oversampling addresses for which the census long-form information on poverty status is not available.
The content of the current SIPP core interview includes
monthly information on labor force participation, job characteristics, and earnings;
monthly information on public and private health insurance coverage; and
monthly information on detailed sources and amounts of income from public and private transfer payments; information—monthly for the most part—on noncash benefits (food stamps, school lunch, etc.); and information for the 4-month period on income from assets. In total, about 65 separate sources of cash income are identified for each household member aged 15 and over, together with benefits from seven in-kind programs—for a few sources annual amounts are obtained in topical modules (see Citro and Kalton, 1993: Tables 3-1, 3-2).
Data are also collected in topical modules, which are asked once or twice in each panel, on a wide range of subjects, including
annual income and income taxes;
educational financing and enrollment;
eligibility for selected programs (including expenditures on shelter, out-of-pocket medical care costs, and dependent care);