The Federal Reserve Board in March will begin a statistical study of household finances, the Survey of Consumer Finances, that will provide policymakers with important insight into the economic condition of a broad cross section of American families.
“This survey is one of the nation’s primary sources of information on the financial condition of different types of families,” Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell said in a letter to prospective survey participants. “Our most recent survey has been instrumental in continuing to understand the different experiences of American families during the economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The data collected will provide a representative picture of what Americans own (from houses and cars to stocks and bonds), how and how much they borrow, and how they bank. Past study results have contributed to policy discussions regarding recovery of households from the Great Recession, changes in the use of credit, the use of tax-preferred retirement savings accounts, and a broad range of other issues. The sample design for the 2022 survey will include adjustments to improve the coverage of Black, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian families in the survey.
The current version of the survey has been undertaken every three years since 1983. It is being conducted for the Board by NORC, a social science research organization at the University of Chicago, through December of this year.
Participants in the study are chosen at random from 119 areas, including metropolitan areas and rural counties across the United States, using a scientific sampling procedure. A representative of NORC contacts each potential participant personally to explain the study and request time for an interview.
Individual survey responses are kept confidential. NORC uses names and addresses only for the administration of the survey, and that identifying information will be destroyed at the close of the study. NORC is forbidden from giving the names and addresses of participants to anyone at the Federal Reserve or anywhere else.
Summary results for the 2022 study will be published in late 2023 after all data from the survey have been assessed and analyzed.