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Bureau of Labor Statistics > Office of Survey Methods and Research > Publications > Browse Research Papers

Subjective Assessments of Economic Well‐Being and Preliminary Findings from Miami

Thesia I. Garner, Linda L. Stinson, and Stephanie S. Shipp

Abstract

Surveys have long been used to measure both objective and subjective phenomena. Objective realities, such as one's date of birth or educational attainment, are matters of public record. Subjective reality, on the other hand, is totally private, it can be reported only by the person experiencing it. In this study we are concerned with respondents' private views of their income. These views may be included in their subjective assessments of income and may help to determine whether or not they experience some sense of economic well-being. Since most American adults are confronted daily with the delicate task of balancing their income and expenses, it seems reasonable to expect them to have a rather well-developed budgetary sense.

Key words: minimum income question, income evaluation question, delighted/terrible question