Cycle 7: A Continuous Survey March, 2008: In late June of 2006, the NSFG began interviewing for
Cycle 7. The survey is based on a sample of the household population of
the United States, 15-44 years of age. Cycle 7 is being conducted as a
continuous survey, with interviews being done 48 weeks of every year.
Each year of interviewing will be a nationally representative sample,
and samples can be accumulated across years. Given the
continuous nature of the survey, it is being done in about 33 areas
(Primary Sampling Units) per year. By the end of 4 years of
interviewing, it will be a national sample based on 108 areas. Our plan
was to conduct at least 4,400 interviews per year. As of March 2008,
over 9,000 interviews have been done. The first public use data file is
expected to be released in late 2009, based on
at least 11,000 interviews conducted between June 2006 and December of
2008. After that, data files would be released approximately every two
years. This schedule and plan is subject to change based on the
availability of funds and whether conditions are favorable for survey
work. This statement will be updated periodically.
Cycle 6 (2002):
A Survey of Men and Women, 2002: Cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics
(NCHS), with the participation and funding support of
other programs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Cycle 6 was based on an area probability sample. The sample
represents the household population of the United States,
15-44 years of age. The survey sample is designed to produce
national data, not estimates for individual States. The contractor
for the survey, the Institute for Social Research Center of the University of Michigan,
hired and trained over 200 female interviewers for the 2002 NSFG.
In-person interviews were completed with 12,571 respondents 15-44 years of
age--7,643 females and 4,928 males. The interviews were voluntary and
confidential. The response rate was 79 percent overall--80 percent
for females and 78 percent for males. The questionnaire for males
averaged about 60 minutes in length, while the female interview averaged
about 80 minutes.
Cycles 1-5: Surveys of Women Surveys
of Women, 1973-1995: The NSFG was
conducted by NCHS in 1973, 1976,
1982, 1988, and 1995. These surveys were based on personal interviews conducted in the
homes of a national sample of women 15-44 years of age in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States. The main
purpose of the 1973-1995 surveys was to provide reliable national data on
marriage, divorce, contraception, infertility, and the health of women and
infants in the United States.
Further details on how the surveys were planned and
conducted, reports of the findings from the surveys, documentation and
codebooks, and contact information to obtain the public-use data files,
are available on this Web site.
The Impact of the NSFG In 2006, the NSFG staff prepared the following
assessment of the impact of the survey.
The National Survey of Family Growth, or NSFG, was
initially designed to be the national fertility survey of the United States.
So its focus was on factors that help to explain trends and group
differences in birth rates, such as contraception, infertility, sexual
activity, and marriage. In the first 5 cycles of the survey—1973, 1976,
1982, 1988, and 1995—the NSFG was based on samples of women 15-44 years of
age (Figure 1). In 2002, the survey was expanded to include a national
sample of 4,928 men and 7,643 women. This sample of 12,571 interviews was
the largest NSFG ever done. Response rates have been about 79-80% in every
cycle. When men were included in the 2002 NSFG, data on behaviors that
affect the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections were
expanded, and questions were added on fathers’ involvement with children,
and men’s and women’s attitudes toward marriage, children, and sexual
In June 2006, the NSFG began continuous interviewing. See the description of
“Cycle 7: A Continuous Survey,” for more details.
The NSFG is used:
scholars in the behavioral sciences (e.g., sociology, demography, and
economics) to study marriage, divorce, fertility, and family life;
scholars in public health to study reproductive, maternal and infant health
agencies of the US Department of Health and Human Services, to brief senior
officials and to inform program decision-making, in research programs and in
health and social service programs.
state and local governments to plan health and social service programs;
private-sector research and policy analysis organizations, which distribute
the information to the public; and
the press, to prepare articles on a number of topics related to health and
The impact of the NSFG goes well beyond the more than
550 journal articles, NCHS reports, and book chapters shown in our
publication lists. The NSFG’s impact includes behind-the-scenes policy
discussions, briefings, and program planning at the federal, state, and
local levels. The survey results are also used by people providing health
and social services, through government agencies and in private groups.