New Report on African American and Latino Hardship Rates Shows the Importance of SIPP Data

Nov 21, 2006
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a new report today examining the high rates of hardship – including overcrowded living conditions, difficulty paying for food and the lack of medical care – faced by African American and Latino families (link to report). The informative report was prepared using data from the Census Bureau’s Survey on Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

In his FY07 budget, President Bush proposed eliminating funding for the SIPP before redesigning it in 2010. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), who has fought hard to preserve SIPP’s funding and is skeptical that the administration would actually redesign SIPP after it is eliminated, today lauded the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’s report as an example of the importance of SIPP data.

“The Center has effectively illuminated the hardship faced by two underserved communities, and this report would not have been possible without SIPP data,” said Maloney. “The administration’s plan to eliminate the SIPP would prevent informative reports like this from being produced. If we don’t accurately know who in our society is thriving and who is underserved, we can not adequately address problems.”


Maloney, along with Sen Jack Reed (D-RI), have introduced legislation that would keep this SIPP intact and create a multi-agency commission to review proposed changes to or elimination of the survey (

The Survey of Income and Program Participation was created by the Census Bureau in 1984 to gather more detailed information about the impact of government aid on people’s lives and how they move in and out of government programs. Rather than just capturing information at a point-in-time, the SIPP survey is unique because it questions thousands of the same people every few months for several years, providing a greater understanding of transitions into and out of government programs.

The rich and detailed data generated by this survey allow researchers and lawmakers to examine the real-world impact of a wide variety of government programs, such as welfare reform, Medicaid, child-support enforcement, and unemployment insurance. The survey provides essential information on the extent to which programs meet families’ basic needs and promote upward mobility. The SIPP also provides more in-depth information than other government surveys on work-family issues, such as maternity leave, child care usage and costs, and the work schedules of couples.