The monthly Survey of Consumers is an ongoing nationally representative survey based on approximately 500 telephone interviews with adult men and women living in households in the coterminous United States. The sample is designed to maximize the study of change by incorporating a rotating panel sample design in an ongoing monthly survey program. For each monthly sample, an independent cross-section sample of households is drawn. The respondents chosen in this drawing are then reinterviewed six months later. A rotating panel design results, and the total sample for any one survey is normally made up of 60% new respondents, and 40% being interviewed for the second time. The core questions cover three broad areas of consumer sentiment: personal finances, business conditions, and buying conditions. Overall assessments of past and expected changes in personal finances are supplemented by measures of the expected change in nominal family income, as well as expected real income changes. Attitudes towards business conditions in the economy as a whole over the near and the long-term horizon are measured in detail. Specific questionnaire items concerning expected changes in inflation, unemployment, and interest rates, as well as confidence in government economic policies, supplement the more general assessments. Finally, several questions probe for the respondent's appraisal of present market conditions for large household durables, vehicles, and houses.
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