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Protocol - Annual Family Income

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Description

The interviewer asks the respondent about his or her family’s 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.

Specific Instructions

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 2020 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.

Protocol

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).

 [All families]

1. When answering this next question, please remember to include your income PLUS the income of all family members living in this household.

What is your best estimate of the total income of all family members from all sources, before taxes, in the last calendar year?

Enter '999995' if the reported income is $999,995 or greater.

000000-999995 [ ] _________

999997 [ ] Refused

999998 [ ] Not Ascertained

999999 [ ] Don't Know

If income is 0-999 (unusually low) or 250001-999995 (unusually high), make corrections if necessary. Do not read to respondent.

If income = 1000-250000, end survey.

If income = Refused or Don’t know, go to 2.

2. Was your total family income from all sources less than [250% of poverty threshold] or [250% of poverty threshold] or more?

1 [ ] Less than 250% of poverty threshold

2 [ ] 250% of poverty threshold or more

7 [ ] Refused

9 [ ] Don't Know

If 2 = Less than 250% of poverty threshold or Refused or Don’t Know, go to 2.a.

If 2 = 250% of poverty threshold or more and # household members = 1 or 2, go to 3.

If 2 = 250% of poverty threshold or more and # household members = 4 or greater than or equal to 7, go to 5.

If 2 = 250% of poverty threshold or more and # household members = 3, 5 or 6, go to 4.

If 2 = Refused or Don’t Know, end survey.

 2.a. Was your total family income from all sources less than 138% of poverty threshold or 138% of poverty threshold or more?

 1 [ ] Less than 138% of poverty threshold

 2 [ ] 138% of poverty threshold or more

 7 [ ] Refused

 9 [ ] Don't Know

 If 2.a. = Refused or Don’t Know, end survey.

 If 2.a. = Less than 138% of poverty threshold, go to 2.a.1.

 If 2.a. = 138% of poverty threshold or more, go to 2.a.2.

   2.a.1. [If 9.a. = Less than 138% of poverty threshold] Was your total family income from all sources less than 100% of poverty threshold or 100% of poverty threshold or more?

   1 [ ] Less than 100% of poverty threshold

   2 [ ] 100% of poverty threshold or more

   7 [ ] Refused

   9 [ ] Don't Know

   End Survey after answering 2.1.a.

   2.a.2. [If 9.a. = 138% of poverty threshold or more] Was your total family income from all sources less than 200% of poverty threshold or 200% of poverty threshold or more?

   1 [ ] Less than 200% of poverty threshold

   2 [ ] 200% of poverty threshold or more

   7 [ ] Refused

   9 [ ] Don't Know

   End Survey after answering 2.2.a.

3. 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

7 [ ] Refused

9 [ ] Don't Know

If 3 = Less than $75,000, go to 5.

If 3 = $75,000 or more, go to 4.

If 3 = Refused or Don’t Know, end survey.

4. 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

7 [ ] Refused

9 [ ] Don't Know

If 4 = Less than $100,000 and # household members = 1 or 2 or 5 or 6, end survey.

If 4 = Less than $100,000 and # household members = 3, go to 5.

If 4 = $100,000 or more and # household members = 1 or 2 or 3, go to 6.

If 4 = $100,000 or more and # household members = 5 or 6, go to 5.

If 4 = Refused or Don’t Know, end survey.

5. Was your total family income from all sources less than [400% of poverty threshold] or [400% of poverty threshold] or more?

1 [ ] Less than 400% of poverty threshold

2 [ ] 400% of poverty threshold or more

7 [ ] Refused

9 [ ] Don't Know

If 5 = Less than 400% of poverty threshold and # household members is greater than or equal to 8, go to 6.

If 5 = Less than 400% of poverty threshold and # household members is less than 8, end survey.

If 5 = 400% of poverty threshold or more and # household members = 1 or 2 or 3 or greater than or equal to 6, end survey.

If 5 = 400% of poverty threshold or more and # household members = 4 or 5, go to 6.

If 5 = Refused or Don’t Know, end survey.

6. Was your total family income from all sources less than $150,000 or $150,000 or more?

1 [ ] Less than $150,000

2 [ ] $150,000 or more

7 [ ] Refused

9 [ ] Don't Know

Protocol Name from Source

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Family Questionnaire, 2020

Availability

Available

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.

Equipment Needs

The PhenX Working Group acknowledges that these questions can be administered in a computerized or 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.

Requirements
Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Interviewer-administered questionnaire

Life Stage

Adult, Senior, Pregnancy

Participants

A person age 18 years or older who can provide information about family members who live in the household.

Selection Rationale

The 2020 NHIS questions on family income were vetted against several other income measures. Its initial open-ended question, followed by the bracketing approach, was found to reduce nonresponse rates.

Language

English, Spanish

Standards
StandardNameIDSource
Common Data Elements (CDE) Household Income Category 2738624 CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Annual family income proto 63058-2 LOINC
Derived Variables

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 Steering Committee (SC) reviewed this protocol in June 2020.

Guidance from the SC includes:

  • Updated protocol

Back compatible: there are changes to the Data Dictionary, previous version of the Data Dictionary and Variable mapping in Toolkit archive (link)

Source

National Center for Health Statistics. (2020). National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Family Questionnaire, 2020. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Question numbers INC.0130.00.1, INC.0150.00.1, INC.0160.01.1, INC.0170.01.1, INC.0180.01.1, INC.0190.01.1, INC.0200.01.1, INC.0210.01.1, INC.0220.00.1, NHIS questionnaires, datasets, and related documentation, 1997 to present.

General References

National Health Interview Survey. Detailed Outline of Topics in the Redesigned National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Sample Adult Questionnaire. (2019). Atlanta, GA: Division of Health Interview Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.

Protocol ID

11102

Variables
Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
Demographics
Measure Name

Annual Family Income

Release Date

July 21, 2020

Definition

Question asking the respondent for his or her family’s total family income from the last calendar year.

Purpose

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.

Keywords

Demographics, income, poverty, poverty rate, National Center for Health Statistics, NCHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, National Health Interview Survey, NHIS