Panel Survey of Income Dynamics
The Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID) is the longest running longitudinal household survey on both a domestic and international scale.1 It was instituted in 1968 to analyze income and poverty dynamics in response to former President Johnson's Great Society but has since then expanded to focus on income and expenditure data at the family and individual level as well as other specialized studies. Such studies include but are not limited to: family structure, disability and time use, child development, as well as wellbeing and daily life.
CE estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and PSID estimates from the University of Michigan are two highly regarded sources for domestic household expenditure data. Although the intent is the same, there exists divergence in how data are categorized, parsed out, and represented in the two respective surveys. Such heterogeneity leads to differences in total expenditures and expenditure breakdown by category. To illustrate this, Chart 1 below provides estimates of total expenditures for both surveys over a 20-year time series. Through 2013, CE estimates remained below its PSID counterpart albeit with a narrowing expenditure gap from 2005 to 2013 with differences ranging from 1.0 to 6.1 percent. Post-2013, CE expenditures, fueled by growth in transportation and housing, exceeded its PSID counterpart. The aforementioned trends can also be related to a change in the structure of the PSID survey itself. Starting in 2015, the PSID survey questionnaire was expanded to collect key expenditure items including internet access, food security, health insurance, and wealth and pensions. For additional information on changes made to the PSID, please see The PSID Main Interview User Manual: Release 2021. For supplemental information on the differences between the two surveys, please see A Comparison of CE and PSID Expenditure Data: 1999-2011.
For more information on the figures outlined in Chart 1 below, please see the PSID tab in CE data comparisons linked below.
Analysis Methodology and Concordance:
CE estimates provided in this survey comparison are annual integrated means and were gathered using the CE's LABSTAT Database which provides time series expenditure data stretching back to 1984.
PSID data was obtained from The University of Michigan's PSID Variable Database. The PSID includes a separate category under food expenditure for "food delivered," separate from "food away from home," which is combined with food away from home to create a comparable category. PSID does not break down its mortgage data under housing into interest and principal as in CE, thus the two were combined in CE for comparison sake. For healthcare, the PSID did not have a medical services category, therefore expenditures on doctors along with nursing home and hospital expenditures were combined for comparison.
Last Modified Date: January 28, 2022