Although money can provide access to a variety of goods and services common to modern life, financial resources alone cannot provide an overall picture of well-being. That is why the U.S. Census Bureau uses the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to collect information on a variety of other measures, creating a broad picture of well-being. Since 1992, SIPP has been asking householders questions from five broad “domains” of well-being: (1) appliances and electronic goods, such as possession of refrigerators, landline and cellular telephones, and computers; (2) housing conditions, including level of satisfaction with overall home repair, adequate living space, and sufficient privacy; (3) neighborhood conditions and community services, such as road conditions and the presence of abandoned buildings; satisfactory police, fire, and medical services; and attitudes towards local schools; (4) meeting basic needs, including the ability to pay bills in full to avoid eviction, and to have sufficient food; and (5) the expectation of help, should need arise, from friends, family, and the community.
This report continues the examination of well-being, using data from the Adult Well-Being topical module administered periodically throughout the SIPP panels. Although most of this report uses data collected in 2011, comparisons across years use data going back to 1992. SIPP collects information on material well-being only from the householder reference person. The “householder” refers to the person who owns or rents the home. (author introduction)