Strategies for the analysis of imputed data from a sample survey. The National Medical Care Utilization and Expenditure Survey

Missing data in sample surveys is virtually unavoidable, whether it is an entire unit that is missing or only an item for a responding unit. Compensation for unit nonresponse is usually made through the assignments of weights to responding units; for item nonresponse, the compensation often is by an imputation procedure. This paper reviews the extent of missing data in a large federal survey, the National Medical Care Utilization and Expenditure Survey, and the imputation procedures used to compensate for item missing data. The effects of imputation on several types of estimates from the survey are examined. In addition, several methods for analyzing survey data with imputed values are reviewed, and recommendations about preferred strategies are made for selected circumstances.