Frames of residential mailing addresses based on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) sources are often used for selecting samples of housing units for surveys to be conducted in-person, by mail, by web, or using mixed modes. Address lists designed for mail delivery require some modifications for sampling purposes, which therefore require familiarity with aspects of the address files themselves. This paper takes a detailed look at the address components of these files along with the vendors from which such frames and samples are available. More specifically, this paper describes the types of address records and the components of an address record that are available. It discusses how vendors differ in both the services they provide with respect to sampling frames as well as in how those sampling frames are updated and maintained. The paper also details ways in which address-based frames can be enhanced with auxiliary data such as geocodes, area-level demographic variables, and commercial indicators at the individual address level. The match rate, append rate, accuracy, and utility of auxiliary variables are described, along with potential uses in survey design and estimation. Information contained within the paper will be useful for survey designers who have an interest in tailoring address lists for a given survey’s target population and budget.
Construction, maintenance, and enhancements for address-based sampling frames