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Nonresponse Bias Subcommittee


The FCSM Nonresponse Bias Subcommittee was chartered by the FCSM in 2016, ten years after the publication of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys. The OMB Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys require all Federal surveys with a unit response rate of less than 80 percent to conduct an analysis of nonresponse bias (NRB). Since 2006, US Federal agencies, contractors, and data users have produced hundreds of NRB reports. However, the analytical and reporting practices for NRB have varied widely within and across agencies. The Subcommittee was chartered to advance the availability, comparability and quality of NRB analyses.

The Subcommittee was tasked with three main objectives:

  1. Identify and summarize nonresponse bias studies of Federal surveys since the issuance of the 2006 OMB Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys;
  2. Develop a set of best practices and guidelines for analyzing and reporting nonresponse bias; and
  3. Monitor the impact of the FCSM best practices and guidelines on nonresponse bias analysis and reporting of federal surveys.

In February of 2020, the Subcommittee completed the first objective with the publication of “A Systematic Review of Nonresponse Bias Studies in Federally Sponsored Surveys”. The report summarizes more than 160 NRB studies and discusses four dimensions of NRB research:

  1. General survey characteristics, including agency sponsorship, response rates, type of survey, and mode of data collection;
  2. NRB assessment method(s) used;
  3. NRB scope (i.e., sample composition, survey estimates, or both); and
  4. NRB adjustment procedures.

In June 2023, the Subcommittee completed the second objective with publication of “Best Practices for Nonresponse Bias Reporting”. The Subcommittee is also working with the FCSM to create a mechanism for collecting future nonresponse bias studies and monitoring the use and impact of the FCSM NRB best practices and guidelines.


Publications and Resources


  • Stephen Blumberg (Chair), National Center for Health Statistics,