The Surveys of Consumers are conducted by the Survey Research Center, under the direction of Richard T. Curtin, at the University of Michigan. Founded in 1946 by George Katona, the surveys have long stressed the important influence of consumer spending and saving decisions in determining the course of the national economy.
The Index of Consumer Expectations focuses on three areas: how consumers view prospects for their own financial situation, how they view prospects for the general economy over the near term, and their view of prospects for the economy over the long term. The Expectations Index represents only a small part of the entire survey data that is collected on a regular basis.
Each monthly survey contains approximately 50 core questions, each of which tracks a different aspect of consumer attitudes and expectations. The samples for the Surveys of Consumers are statistically designed to be representative of all-American households, excluding those in Alaska and Hawaii. Each month, a minimum of 500 interviews are conducted by telephone from the Ann Arbor facility.