Data Quality in the Consumer Expenditure Surveys
The Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) Program is committed to producing data that are of consistently high statistical quality, relevance, and timeliness. Data quality monitoring for the CE is conducted during data collection by the Census Bureau (which adheres to a set of quality standards), as well as post-data collection by the CE. This continuous assessment of data quality, has led to many improvements and protocol changes in the areas of data collection, processing, and dissemination.
Fitness of use is an important component of data quality; as such, the CE is also committed to helping data users assess the fitness of use of the CE data for their purposes.
This page provides information on data quality in the CE, including links to the current Data Quality Profile and publications and presentations that compare CE estimates with other data sources.
CE Data Quality Profile
A data quality profile serves as a single source of a range of information on the quality of the survey estimates that helps data users assess the data's fitness of use for their purposes. The CE Data Quality Profile (DQP) is published twice a year and tracks several metrics over time. Recognizing that the quality of survey estimates is affected by errors that can occur anywhere in the survey lifecycle, it is expected that the set of metrics will evolve over time as BLS continually researches methods to monitor and improve data quality. The DQP is split into two parts: the profile and its accompanying reference guide. The profile provides the most recent estimates of data quality and a discussion of current trends. The reference guide provides detail on how the metrics are developed along with detailed definitions. Links to the current DQP and reference guide are provided below. Prior year reports dating back to 2013 can be found in the CE Library.
CE Data Comparisons
As one way to monitor data quality, CE data are compared with other data sources that measure the same or similar items as one way to monitor data quality. Comparing estimates from different sources can help identify potential under- or over-reporting. The table below identifies alternate sources of expenditure and income data and indicates which particular data types can be compared with the CE data. More information about the differences in methodology and the actual data comparisons themselves can be found by clicking the data source titles in the grid below. Data comparisons published prior to 2021 can be found in the CE Library.
Last Modified Date: May 3, 2022