AmeriSpeak Spotlight on Health

The AmeriSpeak® Spotlight on Health from NORC at the University of Chicago comprises quick-hitting surveys that take a monthly pulse of Americans’ views and experiences on a broad range of current health and well-being issues. To gather these opinions in the most accurate way possible, Spotlight surveys use the AmeriSpeak® Panel–a nationally representative and scientifically rigorous panel of more than 35,000 Americans who have agreed to be surveyed online, in person, by phone, or by mail.

Data from Spotlight surveys have generated fascinating and often unexpected insights into subjects as diverse as opioid prescriptions, the prevalence of sexual assault, and surprise medical bills. For example, 32 percent of respondents in 2018 reported receiving an opioid prescription in the previous two years, and among those who filled them, 29 percent refilled the prescription at least once. Surgeons were the most common source of opioid prescriptions, which they gave to patients to treat post-surgical pain. Such data provide governments and policymakers with a clearer understanding of the opioid epidemic and how to combat it.

To produce AmeriSpeak’s probability-based sample, NORC designed its National Frame to provide at least 97 percent sample coverage of the U.S. population by supplementing the U.S. Postal Service Delivery Sequence File. To do this, NORC field staff surveyed select geographic areas and created a supplemental list of addresses; the in-person listing of households improves sample coverage from 92 percent (based on address-based sampling) to 97 percent (using the NORC National Frame). In the process, the AmeriSpeak Panel surveys are better able to be representative of the U.S. population by providing enhanced sample representation of hard-to-reach rural households.

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