Telephone appends for address-based samples—An introduction

By Rachel Harter, Joseph McMichael, Derick Brown, Ashley Elaine Amaya, Trent Buskirk, David Malarek

Surveys with samples selected from an address frame derived from US Postal Service sources are often referred to as address-based sampling (ABS) surveys. For an ABS survey that is primarily conducted by mail, web, or face-to-face, sometimes it is helpful to have a telephone number corresponding to the sample addresses for setting appointments or conducting nonresponse follow-up prompts. The usefulness of a telephone contact mode in a mixed mode ABS design depends on both the percentage of addresses for which telephone numbers can be appended (append rate or match rate) and the accuracy of the telephone numbers associated with addresses. Before planning a telephone contact as part of a mixed-mode study, the designer should know the likely effectiveness of the approach. This paper focuses primarily on append rate information, with a discussion of accuracy rates. For a single ABS frame, telephone match rates vary by geography, address type, match vendor, and by landline vs. cell telephone number. Using very large samples of addresses from a total US ABS frame, we estimated state and national telephone append rates from Marketing Systems Group's sources. The append rates are summarized here and interactively at the website


Harter, R., McMichael, J., Brown, D., Amaya, A. E., Buskirk, T., & Malarek, D. (2018). Telephone appends for address-based samples—An introduction. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0050-1802). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Rachel HarterRachel M. Harter, PhD, is a senior research statistician and program director in RTI International’s Division for Statistical and Data Sciences.

Joseph McMichaelJoseph P. McMichael, BS, is a research statistician in RTI International’s Division for Statistical and Data Sciences.

Derick BrownDerick S. Brown, BS, is a research statistician in RTI International’s Division for Statistical and Data Sciences.

Ashley Elaine AmayaAshley Amaya, PhD, is a research survey methodologist in RTI International’s Survey Research Division.

Trent BuskirkTrent D. Buskirk, PhD, is the director of the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

David MalarekDavid Malarek, BS, is senior vice president of sampling and database services at Marketing Systems Group.

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