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2020–21 MacroMonitor Survey Weighting Procedures

The MacroMonitor target for weighting to the national household population in the United States is economic household units—a definition that allows households to have more than one economic unit. The US 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 Ipsos 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. Most of the 2020–21 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 2020 Supplement. Household income and home ownership benchmarks are based on data collected in the 2019 ACS. 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 0.1218 to 4.239. 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 4.0305 to 140.2749 (ratio 34.80) and summed to 140,750 (000) economic households.

Table B-1

Weighting Targets 2020–21 MacroMonitor

Number of responding households 4,254
Estimated number of household economic units 140,750,000
Household Characteristics Percentage of All US Households
Household Status
Family 65.1
Non-family1 34.9
Total 100.0%
Census Region
New England 4.7
Mid-Atlantic 12.5
East-North Central 14.8
West-North Central 6.8
South Atlantic 20.7
East-South Central 6.0
West-South Central 11.8
Mountain 7.6
Pacific 15.2
Total 100.0%
Metropolitan Area
Non-Metro 14.1
Metro 85.9
Total 100.0%
Household Income
Under $10,000 5.8
$10,000 to $19,999 7.9
$20,000 to $29,999 8.4
$30,000 to $49,999 16.3
$50,000 to $74,999 17.4
$75,000 to $99,999 12.7
$100,000 to $149,999 15.6
$150,000 or more 15.9
Total 100.0%
Home-Ownership Status
Own 64.2
Rent/other 35.8
Total 100.0%
Household Size
1 28.2
2 34.9
3 15.0
4 or more 21.9
Total 100.0%
Presence of Children
No children under age 18 70.9
Children under age 18 29.1
Total 100.0%
Age of Head of Household
18 to 34 years 20.0
35 to 44 years 16.7
45 to 54 years 16.9
55 to 64 years 19.2
65 years or older 27.2
Total 100.0%
Ethnicity of Head of Household
White 66.1
Black or African American 12.6
Hispanic 13.7
Other or more than one 7.6
Total 100.0%
Education of Head of Household
Grade 0 to 8 2.9
Some high school 5.4
High school graduate 25.5
Some college 28.0
Bachelor's degree 23.7
Beyond Bachelor's degree 14.5
Total 100.0%
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.