The Entrepreneurship in the Population (EPOP) Survey is a new publicly available resource for understanding the scope of entrepreneurial activities across the United States. The EPOP Survey includes a variety of measures of entrepreneurial behavior at a local level, providing policymakers and researchers with new information on the experiences and perceptions of entrepreneurs in their local community.
The EPOP Survey uses a nationally representative sample to measure current and former business ownership, whether individuals are currently taking or have in the past taken steps towards starting a business, the extent to which individuals engage in freelance work, and engagement with the “gig economy.” In addition to providing a characteristic profile of the individuals involved in these various entrepreneurial activities across the U.S., the survey also serves as a resource for understanding the behaviors, challenges, and resources available to individuals during the entrepreneurial process.
The EPOP Survey allows individuals to qualify for multiple categorizations of entrepreneurship (e.g., Current Entrepreneur and Former Freelancer). Each category is derived independently and accommodates complex work situations individuals may have. The EPOP Survey begins by capturing employment history and screening for entrepreneurial activity, the survey classifies individuals into an entrepreneurship category for follow-up questions. For individuals that qualify for more than one entrepreneurship category, the following priority order is applied to assign a single category for follow-up questions and limit respondent burden:
The follow-up questions are structured so each entrepreneurship category receives similar questions worded in comparable ways to foster more robust analysis across the categorical assignments.
The EPOP Survey also captures incidence of gig work and asks if the primary or secondary job is gig work and an additional question is asked about any other gig work beyond the primary or secondary jobs to ensure all gig work activities are reported. Given the potential for lack of clarity in what counts as gig work, the survey includes a definition of gig work in the main text of the question:
“Some people earn money through short, paid tasks or jobs online or in-person that are conducted through companies that coordinate payment for the service. This is sometimes referred to as ‘gig work.’”
The EPOP Survey includes follow-up questions about gig work which are asked of any respondent engaged in it regardless of their entrepreneurship category.
The target population of the EPOP Survey includes noninstitutionalized adults 18 years or older in the United States.
The sample design supports the following estimation objectives:
The EPOP Survey uses a stratified sampling design to achieve the research objectives. States without a top 50 MSA constitutes a primary sampling stratum or a geography. For states with one or more of the top 50 MSAs, each MSA and the rest of state outside MSAs make a primary sampling stratum. MSAs made up of counties from multiple states are divided into multiple primary sampling strata, one for each state. To achieve the objective supporting estimation and analysis of entrepreneurship characteristics of underrepresented minorities, particularly Black and Hispanic individuals, within states and MSAs, each primary stratum is further divided into three secondary sampling strata: Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic Other.
The EPOP Survey sample is selected from three frame sources:
Samples selected from the AmeriSpeak Panel and the ABS frame are probability samples with explicit stratification and known sample selection probabilities while the sample obtained from the opt-in online survey panels is a nonprobability sample with unknown frame coverage and unknown selection probabilities.
For EPOP: 2022 data collection began on February 15 for the AmeriSpeak sample, February 28 for the ABS sample, and May 13 for the non-probability samples. Data collection ended on June 6 for both the AmeriSpeak and ABS samples and on June 3 for the non-probability samples.
Differential data collection protocols were followed for each of the sample types.
Partially completed surveys in the AmeriSpeak Panel and ABS samples were followed-up with emails and prompting calls.
Data was primarily collected via an online survey. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing was a secondary mode and available upon request.
Participants were able to take the survey in English or Spanish.
All participants were compensated for their participation.
The response rate varied by sample type. For the AmeriSpeak Panel sample, the response to the survey request was 38.2%, and the overall response rate was 4.9% which reflects the panel recruitment and retention rates. For the ABS sample, the response rate was 6.0%. For the non-probability survey panels, the response rate is not reported.
The overall timeline for implementing this project is July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2026. The schedule of this project is as follows:
The raw data file was reviewed and compared to the programmed survey specifications to identify data irregularities and develop any necessary code to transform raw data for consistency. Complete and partial survey records were all reviewed for data integrity (e.g., to identify respondents who completed the survey too quickly to have read question text and respondents who straight-lined responses) and those that were in violation were discarded. For a small number of cases where the data could not be repaired, the case was discarded. Similarly, cases were evaluated for item nonresponse. Those with high item nonresponse or missing critical pathway information were dropped from the final data set.
Complete surveys from the three sample sources were combined using NORC’s TrueNorth® weighting method to generate a set of combined sample weights to support estimation. The survey contains two sets of weights:
Statistical Disclosure Limitation (SDL) techniques were applied to the data to protect the privacy of survey respondents including recoding, suppression, rounding and micro-aggregation.
The following variables were appended to the EPOP Survey data file after processing:
The final PUF and RUF were created from the fully processed data set.
Based on the national EPOP Survey, the Entrepreneurship in the Population: Indiana (EPOP-IN) project focuses on experiences with and interest in entrepreneurship in Indiana. The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) conducted EPOP-IN to learn about self-employment and business formation issues specific to residents in their state. The study collected data from August to November 2022. Click here for EPOP-IN information, data, and reports about the study.
If you are interested in learning more about conducting an EPOP study at the state, regional, or local level, please contact us at EPOPresearch@norc.org.
The Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) hosted its Fall Research Conference from November 17 to 19, 2022 in Washington DC. EPOP researchers conducted a pre-conference workshop.
Quentin Brummet, EPOP Principal Investigator, gave this presentation to the Outsourcing Research Network Workshop at the Harris School, University of Chicago.
NORC conducted the Entrepreneurship in the Population: Indiana (EPOP-IN) project on behalf of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP). The project included both quantitative and qualitative data collection. EPOP-IN produced these reports and data: