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The Household Pulse Survey Provides Data Quickly During the Pandemic

Image of a stethoscope and wooden decoration shaped liked a house placed on top of charts.The Household Pulse Survey provides insight into how household experiences have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 23, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting data for a new experimental survey designed to rapidly capture and publish data called the Household Pulse Survey. The survey provides insight into how household experiences have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The information collected includes employment status, spending patterns, food security, housing, physical and mental health, access to health care, and educational disruption.

The Household Pulse Survey is a longitudinal survey of all households, excluding Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. The survey offers a large sample size that encompasses all states and 15 metropolitan statistical areas, and the data are made available shortly after collection. Researchers should note that, given the low response rate of the survey, the standard error for the survey data is high.

Several federal agencies collaborated to develop the questionnaire: the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, and HUD.

The U.S. Census Bureau is collecting data for 90 days starting on April 23 and is publishing the data weekly. To access Household Pulse Survey data and for more technical information, please visit


Note: Guidance documents, except when based on statutory or regulatory authority or law, do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. Guidance documents are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.