About the Survey of Economic Risk Perceptions and Insecurity

The Survey of Economic Risk Perceptions and Insecurity was designed by an interdisciplinary team of scholars to provide a more complete picture of the ways in which economic instability were affecting the lives of the average American.

The survey was fielded in the spring and the fall of 2009 as part of the Panel Survey of the American National Election Studies. It measured a wide range of events and perceptions that could leave families feeling insecure, focusing on four broad domains of life: employment, medical care, wealth, and familial arrangements.

The survey gauged Americans' worries using a consistent set of questions that allows for comparison and ranking within and across these areas - and over time: the survey also included an extensive set of questions about people's encounters with unstable economic
circumstances in both the recent and more distant past.

A third cluster of questions measured the capacity of households to safeguard themselves against economic risks or to buffer the financial shocks that they experience.

A fourth set of questions assessed both the psychological consequences of insecurity and its relationship to households' ability to meet basic needs involving food, housing, and essential medical care.