Sample substitution can be an acceptable data-collection strategy: the case of the Belgian Health Interview Survey
Substitution of non-participating households is used in the Belgian Health Interview Survey (BHIS) as a method to obtain the predefined net sample size. Yet, possible effects of applying substitution on response rates and health estimates remain uncertain. In this article, the process of substitution with its impact on response rates and health estimates is assessed.
The response rates (RR)—both at household and individual level—according to the sampling criteria were calculated for each stage of the substitution process, together with the individual accrual rate (AR). Unweighted and weighted health estimates were calculated before and after applying substitution.
Of the 10,468 members of 4878 initial households, 5904 members (RRind: 56.4%) of 2707 households (RRhh: 55.5%) participated. For the three successive (matched) substitutes, the RR dropped to 45%. The composition of the net sample resembles the one of the initial samples. Applying substitution did not produce any important distorting effects on the estimates.
Applying substitution leads to an increase in non-participation, but does not impact the estimations.
KeywordsHealth survey Non-response Sampling Matched substitution
The BHIS is a project conducted in collaboration with Statistics Belgium, responsible for drawing the sample and the fieldwork management.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no competing interest.
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