Reaching the Hard to Reach with Intermediaries: The Kansas City Fed’s LMI Survey

July 16, 2018
By Kelly D. Edmiston, Senior Economist


Research Working PaperAn analysis of the Kansas City Fed’s LMI Survey suggests that using a nonrandom sample of intermediaries as proxies for hard-to-reach populations can yield empirically valid survey results.

Reaching hard-to-reach individuals is a common problem in survey research. The low- and moderate-income (LMI) population, for example, is generally hard to reach. The Kansas City Fed’s Low- and Moderate-Income Survey addresses this problem by sampling a database of organizations to serve as proxies for the LMI population. In this paper, I describe why the LMI population can be hard to reach. I then explore potential problems with using a nonrandom survey sample and address the empirical validity of the Kansas City Fed’s LMI Survey. I compare results from the survey using the standard sample to results from the survey using a random sample. I find that the results of the surveys using the standard and random samples are not significantly different and conclude that the use of a nonrandom sample is not a significant problem for the LMI Survey. I find that the series of responses from the LMI Survey are correlated with the things they should be correlated with, suggesting that the survey is empirically valid and does a good job of measuring economic conditions in LMI communities.

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RWP 18-06, July 2018

JEL Classification: C81, C83, I32

Article Citation

  • Edmiston, Kelly D. 2018. “Reaching the Hard to Reach with Intermediaries: The Kansas City Fed’s LMI Survey.” Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Research Working Paper no. 18-06, July. Available at https://doi.org/10.18651/RWP2018-06

Related Research

  • Edmiston, Kelly D. 2013. “The LMI Community in Recession and Recovery.” Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Economic Review, vol. 98, no. 1, pp. 33–57.