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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 survey is used to measure reproductive health status, to determine the need and effectiveness of health education programs, and for researchers to monitor American families.

Family Facts - Examples of NSFG Data [PDF - 137 KB]

Family Facts - Examples of NSFG Data (Spanish) [PDF - 136 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 gathers information on family life, marriage and divorce, pregnancy, infertility, use of birth control, sexual experience, and men’s and women’s health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses the survey results. This information is used to plan health services and educational programs.

The survey is authorized by a Federal law, Section 306(b) 1 (h) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 242), which asks us to collect “statistics on family formation, growth, and dissolution.”

The survey provides accurate national statistics on critical issues like:

  • People making choices about school, work, and having a family
  • Women looking for a safe and effective way to space their children
  • The health care that men and women get, including family planning and reproductive health
  • Risk for sexually transmitted infections
  • Child care services used by working parents
  • How programs for families and children are working


Who Is Doing the National Survey of Family Growth?

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, does the survey. You can find out more about the Center at the NCHS website. NCHS has asked the University of Michigan to do the interviews. A professional, female interviewer from the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center will come to your home and find out if you are eligible for the study. The interviewer who comes to your home will have a University of Michigan 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 questions and type your answers into a laptop computer. You will also get to answer some questions by putting answers into the computer yourself.


How Was I Chosen?

We do not know who lives at your house or what your name is. We take a sample of households from all across the United States. When your interviewer arrives, she will find out if there is someone in your household we need to include in our study.


Why Should I Take Part? Why Not Interview Across the Street?

We cannot talk to all of the millions of men and women in this country — that would cost too much and take too long. So we scientifically select a “sample” of households. We then choose one person from some of those households to be in the survey. Choosing the sample scientifically lets us take the information we learn and use it to better understand the whole population. Once participants have been chosen they cannot be replaced.


Are These Interviews Just for Families, or Those 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. For example, we need to have accurate information about topics such as:

  • How many people are choosing not to have children or to have them later in life
  • How long marriages and other relationships last
  • How often divorced fathers see their children
  • The need for infertility services


Will my Answers be Kept Private?

Yes. Federal law protects the confidentiality of all the information you provide [Section 308(d) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 242M), the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a), and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (PL 107-347)]. Each research staff member has signed a legal confidentiality pledge. The answers you give will be combined with answers from many other people. The data will be reported as percentages, totals, and averages. By law we cannot release information that could identify you or your family to anyone else. Anyone who breaks the law can be fined up to $250,000, lose their job, and/or be sent to prison.


Do I Have to Answer the Questions?

Your help with 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.

Most 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 the interview at any time.


How Long Will it Take?

Interviews take about 60-80 minutes for most adults. Interviews for teenagers take about 60 minutes. A few interviews take a little less or a little more time. We will do the interview at the time that works best for you. Also, for your help in being part of this study, you will receive $40 as a token of our appreciation.


Who Is the University of Michigan?

The University of Michigan was one of the first public universities in the United States. Today, the University is one of the largest research universities in the world. This study is only one of many important surveys done by the University’s Survey Research Center. Other studies’ topics include families, health, retirement and other important issues.


Where Do I Get More Information?

For study information:

  • Ask your interviewer
  • Visit the survey’s website
  • Call Dr. Anjani Chandra or Dr. Gladys Martinez at NCHS (toll-free): 1-855-891-8891

For information about your rights as a participant:

  • Call the office set up to oversee research (toll-free) 1-800-223-8118

To schedule an interview:

  • Call the University of Michigan (toll-free): 1-800-759-7947