Are PRAMS data available to outside researchers?

Yes. Researchers may for studies that involve multiple states by submitting a proposal to CDC. The submission process is outlined below. Please refer to the Proposal Guidelines Cdc-pdf[PDF – 109KB] for more detailed instructions.

Proposal submissions must include

  1. PRAMS Application Form Cdc-pdf[PDF – 206 KB]
  2. Project Abstract of 350 words or less.
  3. Signed Data Sharing Agreement Cdc-pdf[PDF – 34KB] (including signatures of all authors).

Proposal reviews are conducted once a month. Complete proposals must be received by close of business on the 1st day of the month to be included in the review. Proposals received after the 1st will be reviewed the following month. The application form, abstract, and data sharing agreement should be combined into a single pdf file. File name should be the Principal Researcher’s last name. Researchers must use the data sharing agreement without modification. CDC PRAMS will not create individualized agreements for researchers or sign data agreements from other institutions or entities. Submissions should be sent to PRAMSProposals@cdc.gov. Incomplete submissions will be returned without review.

Researchers will receive an e-mail regarding the status of their proposal approximately 2 weeks after the review date. Disapproved proposals will be returned with comments. Approved proposals will be forwarded to the PRAMS states for review. Data sets for approved proposals are issued approximately 6–8 weeks following the review date.

Variables in the PRAMS Analytic Research File

The PRAMS Analytic Research File contains a standard set of variables. There are five categories of the variables provided:

    1. Birth Certificate Variables: Selected variables from the birth certificate file are included in the data set; information on maternal and infant demographics are primarily from this source.
    2. Operational Variables: These variables come from the data collection process (e.g., mode the questionnaire was answered by mail or phone).
    3. Weighting Variables: These variables account for the PRAMS survey design and the statistical weighting of the data. These variables are needed to analyze PRAMS data using complex sample software.
    4. Questionnaire Variables: This is the information collected from the PRAMS survey.
    5. Analytic Variables: These are precalculated variables that combine different variables in the data set, often those that are restricted (e.g., body mass index [BMI] created by combining variables on maternal weight and height).

Birth Certificate/Operational/Weighting Variable Codebook

PRAMS Core Questionnaire & Analytic Variable Codebooks

Questionnaires Available

The PRAMS questionnaire is revised periodically. With each revision or new phase of the questionnaire, some of the questions change. Although most indicators can be compared across phases, it is often easiest to analyze data within a single phase. The years covered by the different phases are listed below:

Phase 8 (2016)
Phase 7 (2012-2015)
Phase 6 (2009–2011)
Phase 5 (2004–2008)
Phase 4 (2000–2003)
Phase 3 (1996–1999)
Phase 2 (1990–1995)
Phase 1 (1988–1989) Pilot Phase

The PRAMS questionnaire has three parts: a core that all states use; a bank of standardized optional questions that states may select from; and state-developed questions that are usually used only by the state that developed them.

The following documents may be useful:

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Years of Data Available

PRAMS has a minimum overall response rate threshold policy for the release of data. For years 2006 and earlier, this threshold was 70%. Beginning in 2007, the threshold changed to 65% and beginning in 2012 the threshold was changed to 60%. The threshold changed to 55% beginning in 2015. For any given year, the majority, but not all states meet the threshold. For this reason the number of states with data available may vary from year to year. By requesting “All states sites with data available” on the application form, CDC will include the appropriate state data in approved data sets. For more information, see Data Availability by State and Year: Table Cdc-excel[XLS – 24 KB] (standard version) Table Cdc-excel[XLS – 21 KB] (508-compliant version, accessible to people with disabilities).

Publication of PRAMS analytic results from approved proposals

Researchers should carefully review the terms of the data sharing agreement before submitting abstracts or manuscripts using PRAMS data for publication. In particular, please note

  • Abstracts and manuscripts must be sent to CDC for distribution to PRAMS sites for review at least 4 weeks prior to submission to conferences or journals.
  • Publications using PRAMS data should include an acknowledgement of the PRAMS Working Group.

For more information about the request/proposal process, please send an inquiry to PRAMSProposals@cdc.gov.

Page last reviewed: April 25, 2019