Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD) Series

Investigator(s): U.S. Bureau of the Census

The Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD) series was developed by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census in response to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 that directed the Census Bureau to collect data necessary to evaluate the impact of the law from households previously interviewed in the 1992 and 1993 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) panels. The goal of the SPD program is to provide policymakers a survey to assess the effects of the recent welfare reforms, how these reforms interact with each other, and with employment, income, and family circumstances, and the long-term effects of welfare reforms on the well-being of recipients, their families, and their children. The program spans from the pre-reform through the post-reform period, 1992-2002 (when combined with the 1992 SIPP panel data). Data are furnished on estimates of the economic status and activities of both the working and the nonworking population of the United States. In order to obtain information about past economic history, employment, income, and program participation, two retired SIPP panels (1992 and 1993) were chosen as the SPD sample. The SPD instrument has a core that remains essentially the same over the 1998-2002 period, and topical modules that vary by year. The core information consists of basic demographics, labor force activity, income, and program participation/noncash benefits. The SPD also has two components that consist of adult questions and child-related questions. The topics that the SPD covers are an extension of those covered by the SIPP, but placed in an annual survey questionnaire, using guidance from such annual surveys as the March Supplement to the Current Population Survey, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and the National Longitudinal Surveys. Also, files in the SPD are linkable with files in the SIPP, thus realizing their full potential. Interviews carried out with the same households in both the SIPP and the SPD expand the range of information on the same population. For example, while the 1992 and 1993 SIPP panel data provide extensive background from which to determine the effects of welfare reform, the 1997 SPD Experimental, Bridge Survey File provides data covering the baseline pre-reform period, the reform implementation period, and the medium-term, post-reform period for the same population interviewed in both sets of surveys.