Email Print Share

38. Panel Study on Income Dynamics - Nifty 50

U.S. Currency

The Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID) is one of the premier social science data sets.

Key areas

These data sets have been central in research and knowledge building in key areas such as:

  • intergenerational relations;
  • income, poverty, savings and wealth;
  • demographic events such as teen childbearing, marriage and divorce, living arrangements and mortality;
  • labor market behavior;
  • and the effect of neighborhoods.

A new and emerging view and definition of poverty has resulted from the PSID, as the data helped transform research on poverty from a static view of "poor" and "rich" to a dynamic view in which families experience episodes of poverty.

The PSID is a key resource in government effectiveness. It has been used to design more effective welfare policies nationwide.

Widely used data

Citation studies show the PSID is one of the most widely used social science data sets in the world. In the last five years there were more than 1,000 articles, papers and other publications based upon the data.

The PSID is a longitudinal study of a representative sample of U.S.A. individuals (men, women and children) and the family units in which they reside. It emphasizes the dynamic aspects of economic and demographic behavior, but its content is broad, including sociological and psychological measures.

As of 2000, the PSID had collected information about more than 40,000 individuals spanning as much as 33 years of their lives.

A unique resource

The PSID is unique. It is the only existing data set that combines a nationally representative sample, repeated interviews of the sample panel years for a significant period of time and a self-regenerating sample design.

The current award funds the most significant changes in the PSID since NSF first started supporting it. These changes make this unique social science data resource a "steady state" panel that will attain and maintain long-term national representation (inclusive of new entrants) and remain about the same size.

Long-term monitoring

Because of these changes, the PSID will be able to continue to monitor mid to long-term socioeconomic trends for the full U.S.A. population without eventually becoming unrepresentative. This will greatly facilitate the study of the evolving income, assets and well-being of American families over their life cycle and, intergenerationally, that of their children.

A number of bold new directions for the PSID are being pursued. These include studies of intergenerational transfers and mobility; research on savings, technology and capital formation; a life course approach to health and aging; studies linking family, school and community to child development; and research on immigrant adaptation and immigrant children.

Original publication date: April 2000

Nifty50 home | 50th anniversary | NSF history | NSF home