Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Survey Will Capture Losses

Very interesting news from the National Opinion Research Center, which fields the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). NORC reports that--for the first time ever--it will retake the survey this summer, interviewing the same households that were included in the last round in 2007. 

The 2007 results were released only a few months ago, revealing the financial status of households on the brink of the most severe economic downturn in at least a generation. Because the SCF is taken only every three years, the next survey would not be fielded until 2010 and the results released in 2012. In an effort to provide timely data on the rapidly changing financial status of American households (the SCF is the only nationally representative source of information on household wealth), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve has deemed this downturn of such historic importance that they want to capture its effects.

Kudos to a government data collection system that is nimble enough to respond to once-in-a-lifetime catastrophic events. The Census Bureau did a similar maneuver when Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans and the gulf coast, capturing through the Current Population Survey's monthly data collection system the before and after. Those results are available here