DRC Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Data Resource Center (DRC) in general.
About the DRC
What is the Data Resource Center (DRC)?
Who sponsors the DRC?
Using the DRC website
How can I get NSCH survey results?
Are all survey data displayed on the DRC website?
Where can I find resources for the NSCH?
Are the NSCH data files available to the public?
What can I expect when I request a DRC constructed dataset?
Can I get a list of publications that have used the surveys on the DRC?
Is there a standard format for citing information from the DRC website in an academic paper?
How do I receive assistance if I am having a hard time interpreting output from the surveys?
Is it possible to access data for two subgroups of children at the same time in the Interactive Data Query?
What internet browsers are supported by the DRC website?
How can I link to your site?
Definitions and Measure Development
How can I find out which questions were used to develop a specific child health indicator?
What criteria are used to create the race/ethnicity categories?
Why isn’t there full data on this website for American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander children?
I see reference to HRSA regions in the NSCH DRC Interactive Data Query. What is a HRSA region?
How are unknown or missing values handled in the DRC Interactive Data Query results?
What does it mean that the data from NSCH are “parent-reported”? Is parent-reported data valid?
DRC Constructed Datasets
What is included in the NSCH data sets?
Do the data sets include local-level data?
How are DRC constructed data sets different from the U.S. Census Bureau public use data files?
Where can I find out how derived variables in DRC data sets were conceptualized and how they are constructed in SAS or SPSS?
What if I have additional questions?
About the DRC
What is the Data Resource Center (DRC)? [return to top]
The purpose of the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health (DRC) is to advance the effective use of public data on the health and health-related services for children and youth, including those with special health care needs, and families in the United States. The DRC does this by providing hands-on access to national and state data findings from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), as well as offering technical assistance on the interpretation and use of these data by policymakers, program leaders, advocates, and researchers in order to inform and advance key child and youth health goals. The DRC prioritizes assisting Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant recipients and partners in the effective implementation of the Title V Block Grant Program by providing key technical support, interactive resources, and necessary training. To learn more visit our About the DRC page.
Who sponsors the DRC? [return to top]
The DRC is a project of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) and is supported by Cooperative Agreement U59MC27866 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).
Starting in 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau collects the data for the NSCH on behalf of HRSA MCHB. Measures derived from this survey are developed collaboratively through a partnership between HRSA’s MCHB, a Technical Expert Panel on which the DRC is a member, the Census Bureau, and other federal partners who provide sponsorship for the NSCH. Several measures still included in the NSCH were created previously through the collaborative efforts of MCHB, CAHMI and the National Center for Health Statistics.
The DRC has longstanding collaborative relationships with Family Voices and many other organizations that work to transform healthcare and improve health for children and their families nationwide. Through this collaboration, CAHMI and the DRC work to promote data partnerships with family advocates, topical experts, and community leaders. The data collected through the NSCH are collected from families, and through these partnerships, we work to ensure that the data can be used by families in order to promote quality care and positive health outcomes for children.
Using the DRC website
How can I get NSCH survey results? [return to top]
The DRC website lets you interactively browse NSCH data through the “Interactive Data Query”, and provides point-and-click access to NSCH survey results in tabular and graphical formats at the national and state level by child and family demographic characteristics and other subgroups (where sample size permits). We also provide fully coded NSCH data sets, codebooks and resources to help with analyzing the data on your own.
Are all survey data displayed on the DRC website? [return to top]
The DRC does not display all data from the NSCH due to data precision restrictions. The DRC Interactive Data Query alerts data users when estimates are suppressed or flagged as imprecise using the criteria set by HRSA MCHB.
Which data are suppressed?
If the unweighted denominator < 30, the estimate is considered too unreliable for presentation.
Which data receive an “interpret with caution” flag?
The DRC flags certain data that should be interpreted with caution if:
- The absolute confidence interval (Cl) width > 20%, or
- The relative Cl width > 120% (1.2 times the estimate), or
- The estimate is 0% or 100%
To learn more about the data suppression and data display criteria click here.
Where can I find resources for the NSCH? [return to top]
Detailed information about the NSCH - including Fast Facts, the Survey Sampling and Administration Diagrams, Guide to Topics and Questions and SAS and SPSS Codebooks - are available on the DRC website.
The NSCH public use data file, along with the FAQs, Methodology Report, and other relevant background information and documentation, are located on the HRSA MCHB website and the U.S. Census Bureau website.
Are the NSCH data files available to the public? [return to top]
Yes. Fully labeled data sets are available from the DRC at no cost. All NSCH survey data shown on the DRC website, including constructed National Performance and Outcome Measures, child and family health measures, and demographic variables are available in SAS, SPSS, and Stata data sets on the Request a Dataset page. Users can download datasets after submitting an Order Form with a signed Terms and Conditions agreement. In addition, the original, non-coded, SAS and Stata versions of the NSCH can be found at the U.S. Census Bureau’s website. These data files include the household screener file, child-level topical file, and poverty implicate file.
What can I expect when I request a DRC constructed data set? [return to top]
Once we have received a completed Order Form and signed Terms and Conditions from you, we will send you an e-mail with links to download a compressed folder containing the selected data set and supplementary information. This process typically takes less than 2 business days.
Can I get a list of publications that have used the surveys hosted on the DRC? [return to top]
The Papers, Publications and Briefs page on our website is your best resource for a list of current publications. There you will find dozens of articles that have used the surveys. We do our best to keep the articles section of our website updated; however, you should also search PubMed for additional articles. We are also happy to post articles from users who utilize NSCH data; please email us a link to your article for display.
Is there a standard format for citing information from the DRC website in an academic paper? [return to top]
The DRC is funded by a cooperative agreement with HRSA MCHB to create the Interactive Data Query tool, as well as the key indicator data set and codebook. The data results, data snapshot page and documents on our website all have a citation at the bottom of the results. Please use this context-specific citation information whenever possible. If a citation is not included on a screen, then please use the following general citation:
Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Data Resource Center on Child and Adolescent Health website. [Title of the document] [Insert name and year of survey]. Retrieved [mm/dd/yy] from [www.childhealthdata.org].
To cite a 2016 NSCH indicator dataset from the DRC:
Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. [Title of the document] [Insert name and year of survey]. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Retrieved [mm/dd/yy] from www.childhealthdata.org.
To cite a NSCH constructed data set from the DRC:
Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, ([Year of Publication]). [Survey Year] National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) [(SPSS/SAS/Stata/CSV) Constructed Data Set]. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health supported by Cooperative Agreement U59MC27866 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Retrieved [mm/dd/yy] from www.childhealthdata.org.
How do I receive assistance if I am having a hard time interpreting output from the surveys? [return to top]
The DRC makes it easy to receive technical assistance for questions related to our website or interpreting data from the national surveys hosted here. Just follow the link to the Ask Us a Question page and send us an email. Once we receive your question, we will review it within 48 hours. Due to limited capacity, we prioritize questions submitted by Title V leaders, families, and family organizations. As our team is able, our goal is to provide quick replies to all questions and requests for information. The DRC staff makes every effort to respond to your email within 2 to 3 business days.
Is it possible to access data for two subgroups of children at the same time in the Interactive Data Query? [return to top]
The DRC Interactive Data Query features the ability to look at one subgroup at a time at the national or state level. You will need to request a data set to do statistical analysis for more than one subgroup at the same time. Keep in mind that due to sample size, the response for selected demographic variables or questions might not be reliable because of an inflated standard error value. Also, make sure you review the survey methodology and other technical documents and codebooks to learn more about how to analyze the NSCH data.
What internet browsers are supported by the DRC website? [return to top]
The DRC supports Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. If you do not have any of these browsers, visit the Microsoft Internet Explorer site, Google Chrome site, the Mozilla Firefox site, or the Safari site to download a free copy. The DRC is also accessible via mobile phone.
How can I link to your site? [return to top]
The DRC encourages users to link to our site. Please use the URL http://www.childhealthdata.org. We suggest the following text to describe our work:
“The Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health provides online access to survey data from the National Survey of Children’s Health. The DRC site allows users to compare state, regional, and nationwide results, and to access additional resources and personalized assistance for interpreting and reporting findings.”
Definitions and Measure Development
How can I find out which questions were used to develop a specific child health indicator? [return to top]
Every child health indicator in the DRC Interactive Data Query has a pop-up box that displays pertinent information about the variable, including a list of the survey questions used to construct it. The pop-up box for a specific indicator or question can be viewed by clicking on the information icon next to questions and indicators on the browsing and results pages. This information can also be found in the survey codebook, which is available for download on the NSCH Codebook page.
What criteria are used to create the race/ethnicity categories? [return to top]
The child race/ethnicity groups available on this website are standard categories constructed according to guidelines established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and used in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services surveys. The NSCH asks a series of questions about the sample child’s race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Respondents are allowed to answer affirmatively to one or more categories of race. There are a number of ways that the responses to these questions can be used to create different groupings of race and/or ethnicity. The DRC website provides two race and/or ethnicity groupings for NSCH: with and without Asian race. Children are assigned to one of five distinct categories according to the following criteria:
- HISPANIC: Children identified as having Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, regardless of reported race.
- WHITE: Non-Hispanic children with White as the only reported race category.
- BLACK: Non-Hispanic children with Black as the only reported race category.
- ASIAN: Non-Hispanic children with Asian as the only reported race category.
- OTHER: Non-Hispanic children identified by a single one of the following categories: American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, multi-racial, or other.
Please note that state sample sizes for Black, Asian, and Hispanic Origin are too small (n<30) in some states and should not be used to derive population estimates. This varies by survey year, and information can be found in the Methodology Report for the specified survey year, accessible on the Census Website.
Additional information about how data about children’s race/ethnicity were collected and processed for the NSCH is available on the U.S. Census Bureau website in the Methodology Report and the HRSA MCHB website containing NSCH supporting documents.
Why isn’t there full data on this website for American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander children? [return to top]
The Census Bureau does not recommend using state or national population estimates for these race categories because the sample size is too small. It is important to note that when individual-level data for one or more of these race categories are not available in the publicly released survey data files for a specific state, it does not mean that the data were not collected. Researchers interested in analyzing the non-publicly released data for these minority groups by state can submit a proposal to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Census Bureau provides access to detailed data files in a secure environment that does not jeopardize the confidentiality of respondents. For more information, click here.
I see references to HRSA regions in the NSCH DRC Interactive Data Query. What is a HRSA region? [return to top]
The term “HRSA region” refers to the ten standard federal regions through which the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) organizes and conducts its administrative activities. The 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories are each assigned to a specific HRSA region.
HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for improving access to healthcare services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable.
The ten standard federal regions were established by OMB Circular A-105, "Standard Federal Regions," in April 1974. The standard federal regions used by HRSA are:
- REGION I: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
- REGION II: NJ, NY, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
- REGION III: DE, MD, PA, VA, WV
- REGION IV: AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN
- REGION V: IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI
- REGION VI: AR, LA, NM, TX, OK
- REGION VII: IA, KS, MO, NE
- REGION VIII: CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY
- REGION IX: AZ, CA, HI, NV, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau
- REGION X: AK, ID, OR, WA
How are unknown or missing values handled in the DRC Interactive Data Query results? [return to top]
Missing values may be due to non-response (i.e., a skipped item) or a “don’t know” response. The way these items are handled can vary by measure. For NPMs and NOMs, having missing values for all items in an indicator will lead to the case being given a missing value on the overall measure. For some other measures, if there is a missing value on any of the items, the case will be set to missing. How missing values are handled is documented in the "Additional notes" section of the data query “details” pop-up box.
Missing values are not included in the denominator when calculating prevalence estimates and weighted population counts displayed in the Interactive Data Query results table. In the majority of cases, the proportion of missing values is less than 2%. Exceptions are noted in the form of a Data Alert at the bottom of a results table. The exclusion of these values does not change the prevalence estimates (%) and only marginally affects the weighted population counts (Pop. Est.). To learn about the impact of the missing values on the population count estimates, click here.
What does it mean that the data from NSCH are “parent-reported’? Is parent-reported data valid? [return to top]
“Parent-reported” data means that the surveys are completed by a parent, guardian or other adult familiar with the child’s health. This differs from electronic medical record data or other clinical data reported by hospitals, clinicians, or administrators. Data from parents and caregivers are critical to having a full understanding of the broad spectrum of child health. Below are some resources comparing parent-reported data with other data sources.
Patients providing the answers: narrowing the gap in data quality for emergency care.
Quality and Safe Health Care, May 2010
The value of patient self-report for disease surveillance.
J Am Med Inform Assoc., Nov-Dec 2007
Parents as partners in obtaining the medication history.
J Am Med Inform Assoc, May-June 2005
Patients as experts: a collaborative performance support system.
Proc AMIA Symp, 1999.
Parents as direct contributors to the medical record: validation of their electronic input.
Ann Emerg Med., April 2000.
Data quality and the electronic medical record: a role for direct parental data entry.
Proc AMIA Symp, 1999.
DRC Constructed Data Sets
What is included in the NSCH data sets? [return to top]
DRC constructed data sets for the NSCH survey include all content in the public use file plus National Performance Measures, National Outcome Measures, and dozens of other Key Child Health Indicator variables. These measures were developed collaboratively by the HRSA MCHB, CAHMI’s DRC, the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and a national Technical Expert Panel of child health researchers and policymakers.
Do the data sets include local-level data? [return to top]
DRC constructed data sets provide state and national level data. The NSCH is designed to be representative at the national and state level only; however, it is possible to analyze county and zip code data on-site at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Research Data Centers. Interested researchers must first complete the process to receive Special Sworn Status to be able to gain access to the datafiles on-site. Go to https://ask.census.gov/support/case to submit your request to begin this process.
Synthetic estimates are also a way in which you can obtain local estimates using national or state-level data. A synthetic estimate is a prevalence estimate for a local area that is calculated by applying state-level NSCH prevalence estimates by demographic characteristics (e.g., poverty level and/or race/ethnicity) to the demographic distribution for local areas obtained from an external source (e.g., American Community Survey). It is similar in concept to an indirect adjustment. A simple approach to this indirect adjustment can only accommodate two variables at one time and thus will not produce robust estimates found in multilevel approaches. For more information on creating straightforward synthetic estimates, view our Local Uses of National and State Data Brief.Although, this approach has limitations, it offers an accessible alternative to direct estimation.
The NSCH reports four geographic variables for some states in the public use file: FIPSST (State of Residence), CBSAFP_YN (Core-Based Statistical Area Status), METRO_YN (Metropolitan Statistical Area Status), and MPC_YN (Metropolitan Principal City Status). More information about the geographic variables can be found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Methodology Report.
How are DRC constructed data sets different from the U.S. Census Bureau public use data files? [return to top]
- The DRC constructed data sets include additional derived variables not available in the NSCH public use files, which are available from the Census Bureau.
- The public use files from the Census Bureau are available in SAS and Stata formats. The DRC provides the datafile in SPSS format in addition to SAS and Stata.
- Access to the DRC data sets significantly reduces the time and knowledge required to construct key indicators and advances the standardized use of these indicators in research, education, and policy.
Where can I find out how derived variables in DRC data sets were conceptualized and how they are constructed in SAS or SPSS? [return to top]
The DRC has published documentation for derived variables in the DRC constructed data sets and the DRC Interactive Data Query in the form of SPSS and SAS codebooks. Download codebooks from the DRC website. We will ask you to provide your email (optional) if you would like to receive updates on codebooks and other DRC news. We will not contact you frequently.
What if I have additional questions? [return to top]
If you have questions or need assistance, visit our site and ask us a question.