Consumer Expenditure Survey

Introduction to Diary Household Characteristics Questionnaire Instrument

Background

Beginning in January 2004, Consumer Expenditure Diary Survey household characteristics data were collected via Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI). This Diary Household Characteristics Questionnaire, previously contained in a large booklet, is programmed into a laptop computer which is used by a Census Bureau field representative to collect information about the Diary Survey respondent household, including demographic characteristics and income. Expenditures are recorded in the self-administered Diary Survey Form over two consecutive one-week periods. The field representative administers the Household Characteristics Questionnaire during three visits to the Diary Survey respondent household: (1) the initial visit, during which demographic information about the household is collected and the first weekly diary is delivered; (2) a second visit at the end of the first week, during which the first diary is collected and reviewed and the second diary is delivered; and (3) a final visit to collect and review the second weekly diary, and to complete the Household Characteristics Questionnaire sections on work experience and income.

The CAPI instrument used for collection of the Diary Household Characteristics Questionnaire was developed over several years in a joint effort by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. The instrument is programmed in Blaise, a Windows-based survey processing system developed by Statistics Netherlands and licensed by Westat in the United States.

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Last Modified Date: January 13, 2009

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