A Brief Introduction to the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS)
The CPS is a monthly survey that the Census Bureau conducts for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide data on labor force participation and unemployment.
As the official source of government statistics on employment status and income, data on health insurance coverage is collected through the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), which was initially added to the CPS in March of each year and was expanded to February through April beginning in 2001 (the ASEC is sometimes referred to as the "March Supplement".
Data are collected through a combination of telephone and in-person modes using computer-assisted instruments.
- is designed to be representative of each state and the District of Columbia.
- is both nationally and state representative and has included approximately 77,000 households per year since 2000.
- represent a cross-section of the civilian non-institutionalized population of the United States.
- had a response rate 86% for 2009.
Health insurance estimates from the CPS...
- Provide an estimate of those uninsured for all of the previous calendar year. The CPS asks respondents to recall their insurance status for the prior calendar year (January through December) at a later point of fielding – during February through April of the following year.
- Produce state-level estimates of health insurance coverage. These estimates are also one component of the federal formula used to distribute funds for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
- Ask about a comprehensive roll of insurance options that include public program names specific to the state in which the interview is conducted. A verification question is included to confirm that respondents who did not respond that they were enrolled in any insurance programs are, in fact, uninsured.
Additional information is available at the Census Bureau's health insurance page.