2018–19 MacroMonitor Survey Weighting Procedures

The MacroMonitor target for weighting to the national household population in the U.S. is economic household units—a definition that allows households to have more than one economic unit. The U.S. Bureau of the Census defines households as persons sharing a common dwelling unit. The MacroMonitor definition of economic household includes families, individuals living alone, and two or more adults living together in a common dwelling who share basic finances. Thus, adults who live together but are unrelated and unmarried—such as housemates, roomers, a cohabiting couple, resident employees, or adult children or other relatives who might contribute to the housing expenses but otherwise maintain separate finances—count as separate economic households.

The GfK KnowledgePanel® sample design began as an equal probability sample with several enhancements incorporated to improve efficiency. Since any alteration in the selection process is a deviation from a pure equal probability sample design, statistical weighting adjustments were made to the data to offset known selection deviations. These adjustments were incorporated in the sample's base weight.

There are also several sources of survey error that are an inherent part of any survey process, such as non-coverage and non-response due to panel recruitment methods and to inevitable panel attrition. These sources of sampling and non-sampling error were addressed using a panel demographic post-stratification weight.

Lastly, a set of study-specific post-stratification weights were constructed to adjust for the study's sample design and survey non-response. Unless otherwise noted, the 2018–19 MacroMonitor study-specific weights are based on household level demographic and geographic distributions for the non-institutionalized, civilian population ages 18+ from the Current Population Survey (CPS), March 2018 Supplement. Respondents were weighted to the derived benchmark distributions presented in Table B-1.

Comparable distributions were calculated using all completed cases from the field data. Since study sample sizes are typically too small to accommodate a complete cross-tabulation of all the survey benchmark variables, an iterative proportional fitting is used for the post-stratification weight adjustment. This procedure adjusts the sample data to the selected benchmark proportions. Through an iterative convergence process, the weighted sample data were optimally fitted to the CPS distributions.

After this post-stratification adjustment, the distribution of the weights was examined to identify and, if necessary, trim outliers at the extreme upper tail of the weight distribution. Extremely large weights, though they help the fit of the total sample to the Census distributions, are statistically very unreliable. And because the demographics of persons underrepresented (and over-weighted) in the sample are typically young, low income, and poorly educated, large weights also increase the relative importance of questionnaire responses of low validity. For these reasons, the largest weights are capped by winsorizing the distribution: The top 2.5% of weights are replaced by the mean value of the top 2.5% of weights. After winsorizing, the range of weights was 0.1152 to 4.480. The post-stratified and trimmed weights were then scaled to the size of the population of economic households in the United States. The final weights ranged from 3.9205 to 152.7136 (ratio 38.95) and summed to 139,542 (000) economic households.

Table B-1

Weighting Targets
2018–19 MacroMonitor

Number of responding households 4,100
Estimated number of household economic units 139,542,000
Household Characteristics Percentage of All US Households
Household Status  
Family 65.1
Nonfamily, single 28.1
Nonfamily, more than one member1 6.9
Total 100%
Census Region  
New England 4.8
Mid-Atlantic 12.9
East-North Central 14.9
West-North Central 6.8
South Atlantic 20.5
East-South Central 6.0
West-South Central 11.6
Mountain 7.3
Pacific 15.3
Total 100%
Metropolitan Area  
Non-Metro 14.2
Metro 85.8
Total 100%
Household Income  
Under $10,000 6.0
$10,000 to $19,999 9.4
$20,000 to $29,999 9.4
$30,000 to $49,999 17.0
$50,000 to $74,999 16.4
$75,000 to $99,999 12.5
$100,000 to $149,999 14.5
$150,000 or more 14.8
Total 100%
Home-Ownership Status  
Own 64.4
Rent/other 35.6
Total 100%
Household Size  
1 28.1
2 34.5
3 15.1
4 or more 22.3
Total 100%
Presence of Children  
No children under age 18 69.9
Children under age 18 30.1
Total 100%
Age of Head of Household  
18 to 34 years 20.7
35 to 44 years 16.9
45 to 54 years 17.7
55 to 64 years 18.8
65 years or older 25.9
Total 100%
Ethnicity of Head of Household  
White 66.4
Black or African American 12.7
Hispanic 13.5
Other or more than one 7.4
Total 100%
Education of Head of Household  
Grade 0 to 8 3.2
Some high school 6.2
High school graduate 26.8
Some college 28.6
Bachelor's degree 21.8
Beyond Bachelor's degree 13.4
Total 100%

1 A nonfamily household consists of a householder living alone (a one-person household) or where the householder shares the home exclusively with people to whom he/she is not related.