Assessment of Major Federal Data Sets for Analyses of Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander Subgroups and Native Americans: Inventory of Selected Existing Federal Databases. National Immunization Survey (NIS)


Sponsoring agency

National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Health and Human Services


Reference date



The National Immunization Survey (NIS) is conducted quarterly by telephone among about 9,000 households, in order to collect specific vaccination data for children 19 through 35 months of age. The sample is spread through some 78 areas, of which 28 are urban places participating in Immunization Action Plans (IAPs), and the remainders is located in the 50 States or partial states. For example, data for Texas might represent information collected from 4 IAPs in Texas, plus a sample in "the rest of" Texas.


Beginning with the third quarter of 1999, the questions used to collect information on the race/ethnicity of the children and the mother were changed, consistent with the revised OMB standards. The current wording follows:

  • Is the person of Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino descent, that is,
    Central American
    South American
    Puerto Rican, or

    Is the person

    Black or African-American
    Native American
    Alaska Native
    Native Hawaiian, or
    Other Pacific Islander, or
    Another race (specify)
    (Check all that apply) Don't Know, Refused


    (If more than one answer, ask) which do feel best describes the person's race?

    (Categories as above)

Interviewing policy

English- and Spanish-speaking interviewers are used to collect the information. In addition, selected other language skills are available. A Spanish-language version of the questionnaire is available, when required. Where the required language skills are not available, an effort is made to obtain the assistance of an English-speaking family member or the AT&T language line translators are used.

Sample size

The information in Appendix Tables A-1 to A-3 is for children 19 to 35 months of age. Even though subpopulation detail is collected the subpopulations are not identified on the data files.

Publications of data for Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans

Historically in general, the race/ethnicity detail shown in publications has been restricted to the total Hispanic, White, and Blacks. Occasionally, additional detail was provided for American Indians/Alaskan Native, and Asian/Pacific Islanders. The race/ethnic detail to be made available from the questions introduced in late 1999 is yet to be determined. Public use files are not yet available, but are under consideration.

Revised race/ethnic definitions

As noted, as of the third quarter of 1999, NIS is consistent with the revised OMB standards for collecting race/ethnic data. Since the results are published annually, a full four quarters of information is required before publication. However, as indicated in the Task 3 report, the sample sizes for many of the subpopulations are too small to permit meaningful analyses.

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