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Faith Among Black Americans (Black Respondents)




Mohamed, B., & Cox, K. (2022, August 31). Faith Among Black Americans (Black Respondents).


Pew Research Center surveyed a total of 8,660 Black adults using a combination of four high-quality, probability-based samples: the Center's American Trends Panel, the Center's ABS survey, NORC's AmeriSpeak Panel, and Ipsos' KnowledgePanel. The study also featured multiple response modes: online, a paper version and live telephone. The combined analytic sample supports reliable analysis even of hard-to-reach segments within the Black American population. An additional 4,574 interviews were conducted with adults who are not Black to facilitate comparison with the full, U.S. adult population.

This file is for black respondents only. A separate file is available at the ARDA for all respondents. This allows for comparisons with a representative sample of U.S. adults, available here.

The ARDA has added six additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 8660
Variables: 144
Weight Variable: WEIGHT

The data in this study are weighted both to produce accurate estimates for the adult Black population in the U.S. and to allow comparison to the full, U.S. adult population (including both Black and non-Black adults). To do this, data from the four samples were combined into a single dataset and weighted to match the demographic profile of the noninstitutionalized U.S. adult population.

This was done in three stages. First, a sample-specific weight was created for each sample that accounts for each source's unique design features. Next, the weights associated with each of the four samples were integrated and rescaled to create a harmonized base-weight for the combined sample. Finally, the combined base-weight was calibrated so that the demographic profile of both Black and non-Black respondents aligned with benchmarks from the Census Bureau and other sources.

Data Collection

Nov. 19, 2019 to June 3, 2020

Original Survey (Instrument)

Faith Among Black Americans (Black Respondents)

Funded By

Pew Research Center

Collection Procedures

The survey was administered in English and Spanish in all four samples. In the ATP and KnowledgePanel samples, all interviewing was conducted online. Households without home internet at the time of recruitment were provided with devices and data plans to enable online response. In the AmeriSpeak sample, 83 percent of interviews were conducted online while 17 percent were conducted using live telephone interviewers. In the Pew Research Center ABS survey, 66 percent of interviews with Black adults were completed online while 34 percent were completed via mail.

To encourage study cooperation, Ipsos mailed an advance postcard to all sampled ATP panelists. ATP panelists were invited via email to take the survey, and they were later sent up to four email reminders. For those who provided express consent to receive SMS messages, Ipsos sent the survey invitation (HTML link) via SMS message and later sent up to four SMS message reminders. ATP respondents received $5 to $20 for their participation, depending on whether they had hard-to-reach characteristics.

For the KnowledgePanel sample, Ipsos sent the survey invitation via email, plus up to four additional email reminders. KnowledgePanel respondents received a post-payment under the incentive structure for their panel.

To encourage cooperation in the AmeriSpeak sample, NORC sent up to five email reminders to sampled web-mode panelists. To administer the phone survey, NORC dialed the sampled phone-mode panelists throughout the field period. In addition, starting on Jan. 24, 2020, a subset of AmeriSpeak web-mode panelists also were called to encourage response. These web panelists could complete the survey via phone, if convenient. AmeriSpeak panel respondents received an incentive equivalent to between $5 and $10 in cash, depending on their age and completion date.

For the Pew Research Center ABS survey, the data collection protocol was much more extensive because the respondents did not belong to a survey panel but instead needed to be recruited for the first time. To maximize response, the study used a sequential mode protocol in which sampled households were first directed to respond online and later mailed a paper version of the questionnaire. Moreover, the measurement process featured two stages: a screening questionnaire for all sampled adults followed by an extended questionnaire for those eligible.

The first mailing for the Pew Research Center ABS survey was a letter introducing the study and providing the information necessary (URL and unique PIN) for online response. A pre-incentive of $2 was included. This and remaining screener recruitment letters focused on the screener survey, without mentioning the possibility of eligibility for longer surveys and associated promised incentive, since most people would only be asked to complete the short screening survey.

Next, Westat sent a postcard reminder, followed by a reminder letter to nonrespondents. Westat later sent nonrespondents a paper version screening survey, which was a four-page booklet (one folded 11x17 paper) and a postage-paid return envelope, in addition to the cover letter. If no response was obtained from those four mailings, no further contact was made. Black Americans completing the screening survey in either mode received a $10 post-paid incentive for completing the extended survey.

If an eligible respondent completed the screener online but did not complete the extended interview, Westat sent them a reminder letter. This was performed on a rolling basis when it had been at least one week since the web break off. Names were not collected until the end of the web survey, so these letters were addressed to 'Recent Participant,' but the content of the letter referenced the reported age and sex of the participant when available, so that the same participant would continue the survey.

If an eligible respondent completed a paper screener, Westat mailed them the appropriate extended survey and a postage-paid return envelope. This was sent weekly as completed paper screeners arrived. The paper screeners asked for a 'first name or initials in case we have any questions about your survey,' and Westat addressed the extended mailings using this information. The content of the letter also referenced the reported age and sex of the participant when available. Westat followed these paper mailings with a reminder postcard. Later Westat sent a final paper version via FedEx to eligible adults who had not completed the extended interview online or by paper.

Sampling Procedures

Sample Design
One of Pew Research Center's goals in this study was to interview a sample of Black Americans large enough to study the diversity of views within this group. To achieve this large, nationally representative sample, the study leveraged four sources. Three are probability-based survey panels, and one was a custom address-based sampling (ABS) survey conducted for Pew Research Center.

The study includes samples from three survey panels because these are an efficient way to interview national, random samples of Black adults who have already agreed to take surveys on an ongoing basis. By contrast, the strength of the ABS survey is not efficiency but precision. Unlike survey panels, which are designed for general population polling, the ABS survey was purpose-built to interview not just Black Americans but harder-to-reach segments within the larger group. This meant focusing extra resources in areas with sizable foreign-born Black populations.

While each sample was recruited using different methods, they shared three features: a common questionnaire; a common population of inference, which is Black Americans ages 18 and older living in the 50 U.S. states or District of Columbia; and probability based random sampling. For more complete sampling information, please refer to the report.

Principal Investigators

Besheer Mohamed, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center
Kiana Cox, Research Associate, Pew Research Center

Related Publications

Faith Among Black Americans

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