The Federal Reserve will begin its statistical study on household wealth on April across the United States, in order to gain clear insight on the economic condition of the country.
The Federal Reserve started the survey of consumer finances in 1983 and it is conducting it every three years. The NORC, a social science research organization at University of Chicago will conduct the survey from April to December this year.
According to the Federal Reserve, the NORC will collect data representing the economic conditions of Americans including the properties they own such as houses, cars, stocks and bonds, and how and how much money they borrow as well as their banking practices.
The Federal Reserve explained that the past results of the consumer finances survey have been very significant in policy discussions regarding recovery of households from the great recession, changes in the use of credit, use of tax-preferred retirement savings account, and a wide range of issues.
In his letter to prospective participants of the survey, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of Federal Reserve Board wrote, “This survey is one of the nation’s primary sources of information on the financial condition of different types of households. Our previous surveys…have helped the Federal Reserve and other parts of the government make policy decisions and have also supported a wide variety of basic research, public discussion, and education.”
The participants in the survey were chosen randomly using a scientific sampling procedure from 127 metropolitan areas and rural counties across the country. A representative from the NORC contacts each of the potential participants personally to request time for an interview and explain the survey.
Chairman Bernanke assured that the Federal Reserve provides highest priority in protecting the privacy and the confidentiality of the answers of the participants in the survey. He said, “Your name will never be associated with the answers you provide.”
According to the Federal Reserve, the NORC uses the names and addresses of the participants only for the administration of the survey, and all of the identifying information will be destroyed after the conclusion of the study. In addition, the NORC is prohibited from giving the names and addresses of participants in the survey to any person at the Federal Reserve of anywhere else.
The summary of the results of the survey will be published in early 2015.