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The Design and Implementation of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health

Abstract

Introduction Since 2001, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA MCHB) has funded and directed the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) and the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN), unique sources of national and state-level data on child health and health care. Between 2012 and 2015, HRSA MCHB redesigned the surveys, combining content into a single survey, and shifting from a periodic interviewer-assisted telephone survey to an annual self-administered web/paper-based survey utilizing an address-based sampling frame. Methods The U.S. Census Bureau fielded the redesigned NSCH using a random sample of addresses drawn from the Census Master Address File, supplemented with a unique administrative flag to identify households most likely to include children. Data were collected June 2016–February 2017 using a multi-mode design, encouraging web-based responses while allowing for paper mail-in responses. A parent/caregiver knowledgeable about the child’s health completed an age-appropriate questionnaire. Experiments on incentives, branding, and contact strategies were conducted. Results Data were released in September 2017. The final sample size was 50,212 children; the overall weighted response rate was 40.7%. Comparison of 2016 estimates to those from previous survey iterations are not appropriate due to sampling and mode changes. Discussion The NSCH remains an invaluable data source for key measures of child health and attendant health care system, family, and community factors. The redesigned survey extended the utility of this resource while seeking a balance between previous strengths and innovations now possible.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. The Numident is based on the collection of all individuals who have been assigned Social Security Numbers. Demographic data from the Numident is updated from federal tax data and various administrative records.

  2. The overall weighted response rate is the product of the probability that the address is resolved, that a resolved address completes a screener questionnaire, and that a household identified as having children completes the topical questionnaire. An address is considered to be “resolved” when it has been determined that it is eligible to complete the screener or topical questionnaires.

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Acknowledgements

We extend our deepest gratitude to members of the National Survey of Children’s Health Technical Expert Panel, staff and leadership at the National Center for Education Statistics, and staff and leadership at the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Health Resources and Services Administration or the National Center for Health Statistics, nor does mention of the department or agency names imply endorsement by the U.S. government. Dr. Stephen Blumberg co-authored this paper in his role as chair of the Technical Expert Panel. Further, the views expressed on statistical, methodological, technical, or operational issues are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Correspondence to Reem M. Ghandour.

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Ghandour, R.M., Jones, J.R., Lebrun-Harris, L.A. et al. The Design and Implementation of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health. Matern Child Health J 22, 1093–1102 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2526-x

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Keywords

  • Child health
  • National and state estimates
  • Children with special health care needs
  • National Survey of Children’s Health
  • National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs
  • Title V Maternal and Child Health Services