Survey Data & Documentation


In 1984, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiated the state-based Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) a cross-sectional telephone survey that state health departments conduct monthly over landline telephones and cellular telephones with a standardized questionnaire and technical and methodologic assistance from CDC. BRFSS is used to collect prevalence data among adult U.S. residents regarding their risk behaviors and preventive health practices that can affect their health status. Respondent data are forwarded to CDC to be aggregated for each state, returned with standard tabulations, and published at year’s end by each state. In 2011, more than 500,000 interviews were conducted in the states, the District of Columbia, and participating U.S. territories and other geographic areas.

The BRFSS Data User Guide

The BRFSS Data User Guide [PDF – 604 KB] is intended to provide a brief overview of BRFSS to data users. Specific information regarding data quality, response and/or cooperation rates, or calling outcome can be found in the Summary Data Quality Report produced each year in conjunction with the annual data release. Data users needing more information about comparability across years should refer to the annual Comparability of Data document, particularly before using the data to conduct trend analyses.