2020 Household Pulse Survey

Household Pulse Survey: Measuring Social and Economic Impacts during the COVID-19 Pandemic


What is the Household Pulse Survey?

The U.S. Census Bureau, in collaboration with five federal agencies, is in a unique position to produce data on the social and economic effects of COVID-19 on American households. The Household Pulse Survey is designed to deploy quickly and efficiently, collecting data on a range of ways in which people’s lives have been impacted by the pandemic. Data will be disseminated in near real-time to inform federal and state response and recovery planning. All communications from the Census Bureau regarding the Household Pulse Survey, including all emails and the link to the survey, will originate from a census.gov domain.

If you have been invited to participate in the survey, you may find more information here.

Sample Household Pulse Survey Questionnaire

What information will the Household Pulse Survey collect?

The Household Pulse Survey will ask individuals about their experiences in terms of employment status, spending patterns, food security, housing, physical and mental health, access to health care, and educational disruption.  The questionnaire is a result of collaboration between the U.S. Census Bureau and the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The data collected will enable the Census Bureau to produce statistics at a state level and for the 15 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).  The survey also is designed to be longitudinal:  data will provide insights with regard to how household experiences changed during the pandemic.

When will Data be Made Available from the Household Pulse Survey?

 Data collection for the Household Pulse Survey will begin on April 23, 2020.  The Census Bureau will collect data for 90 days, and release data on a weekly basis.  (For the first release, the Census Bureau anticipates it will take two weeks after the first week of data collection to prepare and weight the data; subsequent releases will then be made on a weekly basis.)

How is the Household Pulse Survey Different from Other Surveys Conducted by the Census Bureau?

The Census Bureau and its federal statistical partners are considered the preeminent source of the nation's most important benchmark surveys.  Many of these surveys have been ongoing for more than 80 years and provide valuable insight on social and economic trends. 

The production of these benchmark surveys is by nature a highly deliberative process.  While efforts are underway to introduce COVID-19 questions into these surveys, that process can take months, sometimes years, before data are made available.  

The approach for the Household Pulse Survey is different:  It is designed to be a short-turnaround instrument that will provide valuable data to aid in the post-pandemic recovery. The Census Bureau is fielding the Household Pulse Survey as a demonstration project that is part of the Experimental Data Product series. 

Additional Resources

Experimental Data Products: Innovative statistical products created using new data sources or methodologies that benefit data users in the absence of other relevant products.

Small Business Pulse Survey (COMING SOON: The new Small Business Pulse Survey will measure the impact of COVID-19 on the nation's small businesses. Data will be available on this site in mid-May 2020.



Kaley Huston
Planner II