There are 42 million adolescents in the U.S., which make up more than 13 percent of the U.S. population.1 It is important to collect data on adolescents so changes in health outcomes and behaviors (positive and negative) can be tracked. With this information, practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers can respond accordingly to important issues affecting adolescents. The following sources of federal data specifically track health health-related statistics on adolescents.
Monitoring the Future
This survey is an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults. Each year, a total of approximately 50,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders are surveyed. The survey has been funded with grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a part of the National Institutes of Health.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
NSDUH provides national and state-level data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs (including non-medical use of prescription drugs), and mental health in the United States. NSDUH is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
National Survey on Children’s Health
This survey provides rich data on multiple, intersecting aspects of adolescents’ lives—including physical and mental health, access to quality health care, and the adolescent’s family, neighborhood, school, and social context. This survey is funded and directed by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)
This survey monitors six types of health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults, including behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual risk behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity. YRBSS includes a national school-based survey conducted by CDC and state, territorial, tribal, and local surveys conducted by state, territorial, and local education and health agencies and tribal governments.
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the world’s largest, ongoing telephone health survey system, tracking health conditions and risk behaviors in the United States yearly since 1984. Currently, data are collected monthly in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.
Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum) is a working group of federal agencies that collect, analyze, and report data on issues related to children and families. The Forum's annual report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, provides the nation with a summary of national indicators of child well-being and monitors changes in these indicators over time. In addition to providing data in an easy-to-use, non-technical format, the purpose of the report is to stimulate discussions among policymakers and the public, exchanges between data providers and policy communities, and improvements in federal data on children and families.
1 U.S. Census Bureau, 2014