Protocol - Annual Family Income
The interviewer asks the respondent about his or her familys total income from all sources in the last calendar year. This is an open-ended question. Respondents who do not know or refuse to answer the first annual family income question are asked a series of bracketing questions to obtain the approximate amount.
Generally, respondents do not like to provide information about their income, and this is considered a sensitive question. Respondents might not know or refuse to provide this information. Additional probing and follow-up questions, like the bracketing approach, are often necessary to obtain a valid response.
The interviewer and respondent must fully understand that the question refers to the family’s total income from the last calendar year. The following descriptions of "household," "family," and "reference person" were used in the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Field Representative Manual.
Household is defined as the entire group of persons who live in the sample unit. It may consist of several persons living together or one person living alone. It includes the household reference person and any relatives living in the unit as well as roomers, employees, or other persons not related to the reference person.
Family is defined as an individual or a group of two or more related persons who are living together in the same household; for example, the reference person, his or her spouse, foster son, daughter, son-in-law, and their children, and the wife’s uncle. Also, unmarried couples (same-sex and opposite-sex couples) are considered as belonging to the same family. Additional groups of persons living in the household who are related to each other but not the reference person are considered to be separate families. There can be more than one family living in the same household. Each family is considered a separate case and should be interviewed separately. Reference Person (Family) is the person or one of the persons in the family, equal to or greater than the age of others who live at the residence, who is generally the first person mentioned in the family roster. Generally, this person is age 18 years or older and the same person that owns or rents the housing unit. A reference person is designated to provide information about family members who live in the household. However, if the reference person is not available, the information can be obtained for another family member age 18 years or older.
To ask these questions, the interviewer needs to know the current poverty levels. Poverty levels are updated each year by the U.S. Census Bureau. The current poverty levels are used in the follow-up questions to determine the threshold levels to ask participants with low income, if the bracketing questions are asked.
The next questions are about your total family income in [last calendar year in 4-digit format] BEFORE TAXES. Income is important in analyzing the health information we collect. For example, with this information, we can learn whether persons in one income group use certain types of medical services more or less often than those in another group. Please be assured that, like all other information you have provided, these answers will be kept strictly confidential.
When answering these questions, please remember that by "combined family income," I mean your income PLUS the income of all family members living in this household (including cohabitating partners, and armed forces members living at home).
What is your best estimate of the total income of all family members from all sources, before taxes, in [last calendar year in 4-digit format]?
[ENTER INCOME] ______________
000000-999994 for $0-$999,994
999995 for $999,995+
999997 for Refused
999999 for Don’t know
[Respondents who don’t know or refuse to provide their income]
Was your total family income from all sources less than $50,000 or $50,000 or more?
1[ ]Less than $50,000
2[ ]$50,000 or more
9[ ]Don’t know
[The respondent answered Less than $50,000]
Was your total family income from all sources less than $35,000 or $35,000 or more?
1[ ]Less than $35,000
2[ ]$35,000 or more
9[ ]Don’t know
[The respondent answered Less than $35,000]
Was your total [fill1: family] income from all sources less than [fill2: fill based on poverty threshold] or [fill2: fill based on poverty threshold] or more?
1[ ]Less than [$9,500/$12,000/$15,000/$19,000/$22,500/$25,500/$29,000]*
2[ ][$9,500/$12,000/$15,000/$19,000/$22,500/$25,500/$29,000] or more
9[ ]Don’t know
[* This question determines whether the family is above or below the poverty level that is appropriate for their family size. Consequently, the threshold selected for this question is based on the family size and the corresponding poverty level from the Census Bureau. The example poverty threshold levels shown here are based on 2006 data.]
[The respondent answered More than $50,000]
Was your total family income from all sources less than $100,000 or $100,000 or more?
1[ ]Less than $100,000
2[ ]$100,000 or more
9[ ]Don’t know
[The respondent answered Less than $100,000]
Was your total family income from all sources less than $75,000 or $75,000 or more?
1[ ]Less than $75,000
2[ ]$75,000 or more
9[ ]Don’t know
Protocol Name from Source:
National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Family Questionnaire, 2007
Personnel and Training Required
The interviewer must be trained to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population. The interviewer must be trained and found to be competent (i.e., tested by an expert) at the completion of personal interviews.* The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a "don’t know" response is provided.
* There are multiple modes to administer this question (e.g., paper-and-pencil and computer-assisted interviews).
While the source instrument was developed to be administered by computer, the PhenX Working Group acknowledges these questions can be administered in a noncomputerized format (i.e., paper-and-pencil instrument). Computer software is necessary to develop computer-assisted instruments. The interviewer will require a laptop computer or handheld computer to administer a computer-assisted questionnaire.
|Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection||No|
|Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual||No|
Mode of Administration
Infant, Toddler, Child, Adolescent, Adult, Senior, Pregnancy
A person age 18 years or older who can provide information about family members who live in the household.
The 2007 NHIS questions on family income were vetted against several other income measures. Its initial open-ended question, followed by the bracketing approach, was found by National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) staff to reduce nonresponse rates when compared with its competitors.
|Common Data Elements (CDE)||Household Income Category||2738624||CDE Browser|
|Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC)||Annual family income proto||63058-2||LOINC|
Poverty Rate: The participant and their family members are classified in terms of annual family income as a percent of the poverty level (usually classified as < or > poverty level, < or > 150% of poverty level, or < or > 300% of poverty level).
Process and Review
The Expert Review Panel #2 (ERP 2) reviewed the measures in the Demographics, Environmental Exposures, and Social Environments domains.
Guidance from ERP 2 includes:
• No significant changes to measure
Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary
Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)
National Center for Health Statistics. (2007). National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Family Questionnaire, 2007. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Question numbers FIN.250_00.000–FIN.275_00.000. NHIS questionnaires, datasets, and related documentation, 1997–2008.
Pleis, J., & Cohen, R. (2007). Impact of income bracketing on poverty measures used in the National Health Interview Survey’s Early Release Program: Preliminary data from the 2007 NHIS. Atlanta, GA: Division of Health Interview Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G) Data Shaper.
|Variable Name||Variable ID||Variable Description||dbGaP Mapping|
|PX011101010000||What was your best estimate of the total more||Variable Mapping|
|PX011101050000||Was your total family income from all more||Variable Mapping|
|PX011101030000||Was your total family income from all more||Variable Mapping|
|PX011101020000||Was your total family income from all more||Variable Mapping|
|PX011101060000||Was your total family income from all more||Variable Mapping|
|PX011101010100||What was your best estimate of the total more||Variable Mapping|
|PX011101040000||Was your total family income from all more||N/A|
Annual Family Income
February 6, 2009
Question asking the respondent for his or her family’s total family income from the last calendar year.
Family income is often associated with the health of those who live in a residence. For example, a family with a total income below the poverty level often does not have access to the same quality of health care; enough money for the basic necessities (food, rent, gas); or live in a safe or desirable neighborhood.
Demographics, income, poverty, poverty rate, National Center for Health Statistics, NCHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, National Health Interview Survey, NHIS