2003, 2007, 2011/12, 2016, 2017, 2018
Annual starting in 2016
Mode of Collection
Data is collected using self-administered web and paper-based questionnaires. The respondent to this questionnaire is a parent or guardian who is living in the home and has knowledge of the sampled child. Prior to 2016, the NSCH was conducted as a telephone survey.
This National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) designed to provide annual national and state-level information on the health and wellbeing of children ages 0-17 years in the United States. The NSCH is conducted as a household survey, and one child per household is selected to be the subject of the detailed age-specific questionnaire. The respondent to this questionnaire is a parent or guardian who is living in the home and has knowledge of the sampled child. Starting in 2016, data is collected using self-administered web and paper-based questionnaires. Prior to 2016, the NSCH underwent a significant redesign which combined content from both the NSCH and the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs and significantly altered data collection methods. Further information on that redesign can be found in the 2016 NSCH Methodology Report.
Demographic information for each selected child, access to health services, substantive health and well-being, and special-health care needs data for the child and their family (including chronic diseases, family functioning, health status indicators, etc.).
Children ages 0 through 17 years in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Households were randomly selected using the Census Master Address File. The sample was stratified by state and a child-presence indicator that allowed the Census Bureau to oversample households that were more likely to include children. The survey consists of two questionnaires: (1) an initial screener to assess the presence of children in the home and facilitate the selection of a target child (with oversampling of children with special health care needs and young children ages 0 to 5 years), and (2) a substantive topical questionnaire. The target population consists of children ages 17 and younger. Survey instruments were available in both English and Spanish. A toll-free telephone line was provided to respondents to allow them to call if they had questions about the survey, wanted to complete the interview over the phone, or submit feedback. Data were weighted to account for nonresponse and sampling error.
Response Rates and Sample Size
In 2016, the NSCH had a sample size of 50,212 completed topical questionnaires and an overall weighted response rate of 40.7%. In 2017, the NSCH had a sample size of 21,599 completed topical questionnaires and an overall weighted response rate of 37.4%. In 2018, the NSCH had a sample size of 30,530 completed topical questionnaires and an overall weighted response rate of 43.1%.
Data for years prior to 2016 are not comparable with 2016 and later data due to survey redesign.
- U.S. Census Bureau: 2016 National Survey of Children's Health Methodology Report. Feb 26, 2018.
- U.S. Census Bureau: National Survey of Children's Health Methodology and Data User FAQs
- Ghandour RM, Jones JR, Lebrun-Harris LA, et al. The design and implementation of the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health. Matern Child Health J. 2018.