Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey, United States, 2017 (ICPSR 37513)

Version Date: Apr 14, 2020 View help for published

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Stephen Zuckerman, Urban Institute



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In December 2017, the Urban Institute launched the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), a nationally representative, internet-based survey of nonelderly adults designed to monitor changes in individual and family well-being during a time when policymakers are considering significant changes to federal safety net programs serving low-income families. The survey collects information on abroad array of topics related to health and material hardship, including health insurance, housing, food security, employment, family income, program participation, and family financial security.

Zuckerman, Stephen. Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey, United States, 2017. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-04-14. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR37513.v1

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Census region

ICPSR restricted certain variables from general dissemination for reasons of confidentiality. Users interested in obtaining the restricted data must complete a restricted data use agreement with ICPSR, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research. Apply for access to the restricted data via the ICPSR restricted data contract portal which can be accessed on the study home page.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2017-01-01 -- 2017-12-31
2017-12-01 -- 2018-01-31
  1. Additional information about the survey is available at the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey Website.

  2. Variables regarding substance abuse have been masked in the public release due to sensitivity of the questions. Users seeking these variables must enter a restricted data agreement with ICPSR to gain access to those variables


The Urban Institute launched the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS) to monitor changes in individual and family health and well-being as policymakers make changes to federal safety net programs and the labor market continues to evolve.

For each round, a stratified random sample of approximately 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64 is drawn from the KnowledgePanel, a probability-based, nationally representative Internet panel maintained by Ipsos (formerly maintained by GfK Custom Research). The Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS) includes an oversample of adults with household incomes under 150 percent of the federal poverty level to improve the precision of estimates for this group. Current recruitment into the KnowledgePanel is based on an address-based sampling frame that covers nearly all residential addresses in the United States. In earlier periods, recruitment was carried out by telephone based on random-digit dialing sampling techniques. Approximately 55,000 U.S. households participate in the panel, including those with and without Internet access. Laptop computers and Internet access are provided to panel members if needed, and respondents can complete the online surveys in English or Spanish.

Household population aged 18-64


The Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS) response rate is roughly four percent each round.



2020-04-14 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.

The Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS) weights reflect the probability of sample selection from the KnowledgePanel and post-stratification to the characteristics of nonelderly adults in the United States based on benchmarks from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and American Community Survey (ACS) for the following measures: age by gender; race and ethnicity; educational attainment; presence of children in the household; census region; residence in a metropolitan area; homeownership status; family income as a percentage of the federal poverty level; family composition (married or living with a partner by presence of children in the family); primary language; and internet access by age.



  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.