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.