Responsive design, weighting, and variance estimation in the 2006-2010 national survey of family growth

James M. Lepkowski, William D. Mosher, Robert M. Groves, Brady T. West, James Wagner, Haley Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) collects data on pregnancy, childbearing, men's and women's health, and parenting from a national sample of men and women aged 15-44 in the United States. The 2006-2010 NSFG design was a significant departure from the previous periodic design, used in 1973-2002. This report shows fieldwork results and weighting, imputation, and variance estimation procedures. The report should be useful to users of the 2006-2010 public-use data file and to survey methodologists wishing to learn how the NSFG was conducted. Methods NSFG's new design is based on an independent national probability sample of men and women aged 15-44. The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research conducted fieldwork under a contract with the National Center for Health Statistics. Professional female interviewers conducted in-person, face-to-face interviews using laptop computers. A responsive design approach was used in planning and managing the fieldwork for NSFG to control costs and reduce nonresponse bias. Results The 2006-2010 NSFG is based on 22,682 completed interviews-10,403 interviews with men and 12,279 with women. Interviews with men lasted an average of 52 minutes, and for women, 71 minutes. Weighted response rates were 75% among men, 78% among women, and 77% overall. Analysis of NSFG data requires the use of sampling weights and estimation of sampling errors that account for the complex sample design and estimation features of the survey. Sampling weights are provided on the data files. The rate of missing data in the survey is generally low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVital and Health Statistics, Series 2: Data Evaluation and Methods Research
Issue number158
StatePublished - Jun 19 2013


  • Paradata
  • Response rates
  • Survey management
  • Survey methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Health Information Management


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