Using the Survey of Consumer Finances: Methodological Considerations and Issues

Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2007

24 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2006 Last revised: 19 Nov 2018

See all articles by Suzanne Lindamood

Suzanne Lindamood


Sherman D. Hanna

Ohio State University (OSU)

Lan Bi

Wells Fargo Financial


We identify and present original analyses of four methodological issues related to using Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) datasets and illustrate these issues with recent articles published in this journal. The issues are: recognizing that the respondent is not necessarily the household head, reporting race and ethnicity in conformity with SCF and federal standards, using the Repeated-Imputation Inference method to combine the five implicates in each survey year's dataset, and discussing the use of weighted or unweighted data in multivariate analysis. We found considerable variation in how authors dealt with these issues, which could hinder replication or comparison of research results. Authors and reviewers should consider methodological issues related to the SCF more carefully.

Keywords: Survey Research, Race, Black, Hispanic, Statistical Analysis, Multiple Imputation, Survey of Consumer Finances

JEL Classification: C10, D13, J10

Suggested Citation

Lindamood, Suzanne and Hanna, Sherman D. and Bi, Lan, Using the Survey of Consumer Finances: Methodological Considerations and Issues. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Suzanne Lindamood

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Sherman D. Hanna (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

1787 Neil Avenue
Campbell 265D
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-4584 (Phone)

Lan Bi

Wells Fargo Financial ( email )

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