National Survey of Family Growth

Welcome NSFG Participants

You, or a member of your family, may have a chance to take part in an important national survey – The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). The National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is responsible for overseeing this survey. The NSFG gathers and publishes important data on marriage, cohabitation, and divorce; family life; having and raising children; and medical care. The NSFG has been a major source of information on reproductive-age U.S. women since 1973 and men since 2002.

The Family Facts sheets below provide some examples of how NSFG data are used:

Family Facts – Examples of NSFG Data (English) pdf icon[PDF – 136 KB]

Family Facts – Examples of NSFG Data (Spanish) pdf icon[PDF – 265 KB]

 

This section is designed to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the NSFG:

 

What is the National Survey of Family Growth?

The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) collects information on pregnancies, marriages and other relationships, use of contraception, and women’s and men’s health. The survey results are used to help understand health and health behaviors in the United States, plan health services and health education programs, and do statistical analyses of fertility, families, and health.

The survey provides national data on critical issues such as:

  • Decisions people make about whether or when to have children
  • How long marriages and other relationships last
  • Family planning services received by women and men
  • Risk for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
  • Difficulties people may experience in having children and their use of infertility services
  • Preventive health services received by women and men

 

Who Is Doing the National Survey of Family Growth?

NCHS, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sponsors and designs the survey. NCHS has conducted the NSFG since 1973.

The survey is authorized by a federal law, Section 306(b) 1 (H) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242k), which asks NCHS to collect “statistics on family formation, growth, and dissolution.”

NCHS has contracted with RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research organization, to manage the data collection for NSFG.

NSFG is one of many important surveys conducted by NCHS. You can find out more about NCHS at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

 

How Was I Chosen?

Your household was chosen, not you personally. We do not know who lives in your household or what your name is. We scientifically select households to contact. It would cost too much and take too long for us to talk to everyone in the country. We contact each selected household to find out if anyone who lives there is eligible for the study. We then choose one eligible person from contacted households to complete the NSFG survey. Choosing households scientifically and then surveying one individual within the household lets us use the survey information to better understand the entire population. Once households have been chosen and once individuals within the household have been invited to participate, they cannot be replaced.

 

Why Should I Participate?

Your participation is important because your answers not only represent you and your household, but thousands of other similar individuals and households across the United States. Because we scientifically select households to contact, no one else can take your place. The information you provide in this survey will help us better understand the fertility and overall health status of women and men in the United States.

 

Are These Interviews Just for Families or People with Children?

No. If you do not have children, or live alone, your responses are just as important to the study as anyone else’s. You will be asked only those questions that apply to you. There are many topics in the NSFG that do not depend on having a spouse or children, such as experience with health care services or contraceptive use. The NSFG needs to include the experiences of ALL eligible people so that the survey’s findings will more accurately reflect and represent the entire country.

 

Will my Answers be Kept Private?

Yes. Strict laws prevent NCHS and RTI from releasing information that could identify you or your family to anyone else. The following laws require that all information collected by NCHS be held in strict confidence:

  • Section 308(d) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242m(d))
  • The Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA, Title III of Public Law 115-435).
  • The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a.

Every NCHS employee, contractor, research partner, and agent has taken an oath to keep your information private. Any NCHS employee, agent, or contractor who willfully discloses ANY identifiable information could get a jail term of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. In addition, NCHS complies with the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015 (6 U.S.C. §§ 151 and 151 note).

 

Do I Have to Answer the Questions?

Your participation in this study is voluntary. Saying yes or no to being in the study will not change any benefits you get now or in the future.

Many people find the interview interesting and enjoyable. Your participation is very important because each person interviewed represents thousands of others. Some of the questions may be sensitive for some people. You may choose not to answer any question for any reason and may stop your participation at any time.

 

How Long Will it Take?

The NSFG survey takes about 50-75 minutes for most adults. For teenagers it takes about 45 minutes. A few surveys take a little less or a little more time. For your help in this study, you will receive $40 as a token of appreciation.

 

Will an Interviewer Come to My Home?

NCHS has contracted with RTI International to carry out the NSFG data collection. Based on a short screening interview that can be completed by any adult living in your home, you or someone in your home may be selected to complete the main NSFG survey. A professional interviewer from RTI may come to your home to find out if you are eligible for the study. If an interviewer comes to your home, she will have an RTI identification badge with her picture on it and a Letter of Authorization from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She will ask you the survey questions in a private setting in your home and type your answers into a tablet computer.

 

Where Do I Get More Information?

For study information:

  • Ask your interviewer if one comes to your home
  • Visit the survey’s website at www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg.htm
  • Call Dr. Anjani Chandra or Dr. Gladys Martinez at NCHS (toll-free): 1-866-227-8347

For information about your rights as a participant:

  • Call the NCHS Ethics Review Board (toll-free) 1-800-223-8118

To schedule an interview:

  • Call RTI (toll-free): 1-800-262-4494
Page last reviewed: January 14, 2022