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Title Zero Banks: Coverage Error and Bias in Rdd Samples Based on Hundred Banks with Listed Numbers
Source Public Opinion Quarterly (POQ), 73, 4, pp. 729-750
Year 2009
Access date 16.02.2010

List-assisted random digit dialing (RDD) is commonly used for sampling telephone households in the United States. The sampling frame is landline one hundred-series banks with one or more listed telephone numbers. The exclusion of banks without listed numbers from this truncated design has been justified by a 1995 study which found only 3.7 percent of working household numbers in unlisted banks with no significant demographic biases [Brick et al. 1995 ("Bias in List-Assisted Telephone Samples." Public Opinion Quarterly 59:218–235)]. A recent study [Fahimi, Kulp, and Brick et al. 2008b ("Bias in List-Assisted 100-Series RDD Sampling." Survey Practice, September 28, 2008)] re-examined the coverage of landline households in listed banks. The authors concluded that "the coverage loss for designs based on the 1+ listed banks is closer to 20 percent than 4 percent" today. Such coverage error calls into question the acceptability of current RDD sampling procedures for landline households, and in combination with cell phone coverage issues, the very future of telephone surveys. The current study attempted to replicate the Fahimi study using a different sample vendor and more elaborate procedures to establish household status and characteristics of households in unlisted banks. Based on a national RDD sample of 10,000 numbers from 1+ listed banks and 27,175 numbers from unlisted banks, we found that 95 percent of landline households are still located in 1+ listed banks. However, while the coverage error from unlisted telephone banks is only slightly higher today than a decade ago, there is now a measurable bias in the excluded households toward younger, lower income, minority and rental households. This bias will be particularly problematic for telephone samples that also do not include cell phone only households.

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Year of publication2009
Bibliographic typeJournal article
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Web survey bibliography (4086)