Small Area Estimation

NORC statisticians have extensive experience and expertise in using small area estimation methods and models to improve the accuracy of substantive survey estimates. Sample surveys are designed to produce inferential statistics for pre-specified geographic areas or domains.  However, often there is interest in developing inferential statistics for smaller geographic areas or finer subpopulations than originally planned at the time of the survey design. NORC researchers have extensive experience using administrative data and other relevant data sources to combine information from multiple sources to improve the accuracy and reliability of small area estimates for these smaller geographic areas and subpopulations.

NORC’s expertise in small area estimation includes:
  • Generating small area estimates for unplanned smaller geographic areas or subpopulations.
  • Generating more reliable small area estimates for the originally planned geographies or subpopulations.
  • Developing sample survey designs which “optimize” generating small area estimates for the geographic areas of interest.
  • Using small area estimation methods to combine estimates from both probability and non-probability samples.
  • Using small area models that capture trends across time and across space.
  • Using area-level and unit-level small area models.

Representative Projects

Assessment of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) Integrated Behavioral Health Services. This project fits within a larger project that provides technical assistance to community health centers and community behavioral health care providers in integrating primary health and behavioral health.   NACHC will be conducting an Assessment of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) Integrated Behavioral Health Services, following up with those FQHCs reporting that behavioral health care services have been integrated into their routine primary care practice.​ More

Effects of Insurance Market Reforms. This project for the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Evaluation (ASPE) in the Department of Health and Human Services aims to document the effect on premiums of the 2010 insurance market reforms required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). More

National Immunization Survey. The National Immunization Survey (NIS) produces high-quality estimates on the rate of immunization among young children in the U.S., considered a critical contributor to the prevention of childhood diseases. Administered by NORC at the University of Chicago since 2005, the NIS is one of the largest telephone surveys in the nation and its data are considered the gold standard for public health surveillance on immunization rates.  More

Survey of Doctorate Recipients. NORC conducts the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).The SDR is a survey of 120,000 science and engineering doctorate recipients who earned their degrees from institutions within the United States. More

Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) is a federal agency survey conducted by NORC for the National Science Foundation and five other federal agencies (National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). More

See all Small Area Estimation projects