Evaluating the utility and accuracy of a reverse telephone directory to identify the location of survey respondents

Mario Schootman, Donna Jeffe, Edward Kinman, Gary Higgs, Jeannette Jackson-Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To investigate the utility and positional accuracy of a reverse telephone directory to enhance geocoding using self-reported street addresses. This cross-sectional study used 2001 self-reported survey data from 2636 participants in three Missouri areas. When available, street addresses were appended to participant telephone numbers using a reverse telephone directory. The odds of finding a telephone number in the reverse directory and the positional accuracy between self-reported addresses and those obtained from the reverse directory were calculated. We also determined the quality of self-reported address information and that obtained by means of the reverse telephone directory. Rural respondents, younger respondents, women, African Americans, and respondents with less than a high school education were less likely to have their telephone number present in the reverse directory. Using the reverse directory increased the overall percentage of respondents whose addresses were geocoded from 51.5% to 72.0%. Eighty-one percent of addresses were geocoded to the same US Census Block Group and 89% were geocoded to the same Census Tract as the self-reported addresses. The street address of survey participants obtained through the reverse directory can be used to augment the unknown location of telephone survey respondents but specific groups of people are less likely to be found in the directory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Data Collection
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Geographic Location
  • Survey Methods


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