You could be one of thousands of people across the country that are surveyed each month by the U.S. Census on spending habits. Dennis Johnson, director of the Census Bureau’s Kansas City regional office, says they survey over 12,000 households for information that’s used in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) — the nation’s most widely used measure of inflation.
He says the survey helps to determine what people are spending their money on, and what things cost, and if the costs are going up or down. Johnson says they are actually collecting the information for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Johnson says they use two types of surveys as they actually interview people and ask them to remember the purchases they’ve made in the last few weeks, and they also ask people to keep a diary of all the purchases they’ve made throughout the week, including the purchase of snacks or clothes.
Johnson says a few Iowans are asked to take part in each survey. He says it’s a relative small percentage of households, less than one percent in Iowa, so Johnson says it’s vital that people help out with the survey. You never know when you may be asked to take part.
Johnson says they selected a new sample of households every month, so it could be this month, or six months from now that you may be contacted. He says they send a letter in advance explaining the survey so that you know it is legitimate. Johnson says any census employee that visits you will show their official I.D., and all information and answers gathered are kept confidential.