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National Survey of Children's Health


The National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) examines the physical and emotional health of children under age 18. Special emphasis is placed on factors that may relate to well-being of children, including medical homes, family interactions, parental health, school and after-school experiences, and safe neighborhoods.

Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics
Data Years Available: 
2003, 2007, 2011-2012
Mode of Collection: 
Telephone survey.
Selected Content: 
Demographic information for each selected child, access to health services, and substantive health and well-being data for the child and his/her family (including chronic diseases, family functioning, health status indicators, etc.).
Population Covered: 
Children aged 0 to 17 years in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

NSCH is a component of the State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS). SLAITS is a cross-sectional, broad-based, ongoing surveillance system that collects health data at the state and local levels. SLAITS surveys have a complex survey design, with stratification by state and sample type (landline or cell-phone). The surveys use the sampling frame of the National Immunization Survey (NIS) and immediately follow the NIS in selected households, using its sampling for efficiency and economy. For the NSCH, a list-assisted random-digit-dialed (RDD) sample of landline telephone numbers of households with children less than 18 years of age was selected from the NIS sample frame in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. One child was randomly selected from all children in each identified household to be the subject of the survey. The respondent was a parent or guardian who knew about the child's health and health care. Starting in 2011, landline telephone numbers were supplemented with an independent RDD sample of cell-phone numbers.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

For the 2007 NSCH, a total of 91,642 interviews were completed. The weighted overall response rate was 46.7%.

Interpretation Issues: 

Data may be comparable across survey years with special attention to the addition of cell phones in the 2011-2012 NSCH sample.


Blumberg SL, Foster EB, Frasier AM et al. Design and Operation of the National Survey of Children's Health, 2007. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 1.(Pre-Publication Unedited DRAFT, May 21, 2009.