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 Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)


Sponsoring agency

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


Reference date



The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) is focused on factors affecting pregnancy--including sexual activity, contraceptive use, and infertility--the use of family planning and other medical services such as prenatal care, and the health of women and infants. The survey is conducted at periodic intervals among a national probability sample of some 12,000 civilian noninstitutionalized women 15 to 44 years of age. Beginning with the next cycle (Cycle VI, scheduled for calendar 2001), the study also will include some 7,200 completed interviews with men 15 to 49 years of age. A variety of demographic and socio-economic information also is included in the interview.


The Cycle V survey, conducted in 1995, used the NHIS as the sampling frame. Thus, the NHIS race/ethnicity in detail is available for NSFG; although all the information is not on the public use tape. The Cycle V survey includes questions relating to Hispanic origin, as well as for selected subpopulations, such as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Other. Specific wording follows:

  • Is (….) of Hispanic or Spanish origin?
    • YES NO

    Is (….)

    • Puerto Rican
      Or a member of some other group (specify)

The item on race instructs respondents to mark all that apply, but also to indicate the race that best describes the respondent, as follows:

  • Please look at Card. What is (....'s) race? (Code all that apply)
    Alaskan Native or American Indian
    Asian or Pacific Islander

Interviewing policy

Some Spanish-English bilingual interviewers are hired and made available as needed. Respondents who cannot be interviewed in English or in Spanish are classified as eligible, but non-respondents. Because of the sensitive content of the interview, family members or other third party translators are not allowed to be present during the interview. Thus, if an eligible person speaks only other than English or Spanish, that person cannot be interviewed in the NSFG.

Sample size

The next cycle plans to oversample both Black and Hispanic men and women 15 to 44 years of age and Hispanic men 15 to 49 years of age, as well as Hispanic women 15 to 44 years, as in recent cycles The exact amount of oversampling is yet to be determined. The sample sizes shown in Appendix Tables A-1 toA-3 are for Hispanic women 15 to 44 years who were included in Cycle 5. The emphasis in this study has been on Black and Hispanic reproductive health.

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

All reports contain data cross tabulated by race and ethnicity. The oversampling of black and Hispanic women, however, provides both greater reliability and greater detail for this group. The detail in the reports includes the number of children women have had and the number they expect in the future, intended and unintended births, sexual intercourse, marriage and cohabitation, contraceptive use, infertility, health insurance coverage, family planning, smoking, HIV testing, and sex education.

Public use data files, containing individual records for respondents, are produced for each Cycle; the race/Hispanic data are included on the record.

Revised race/ethnic definitions

Cycle VI, scheduled for Calendar 2001, will reflect the revised OMB standards for race/ethnic detail.

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