Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

Maintained/created by: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Geographic unit of data: U.S. national, U.S. state, U.S. county, U.S. city

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Users can download data sets and fact sheets regarding youth risk behaviors such as, physical activity, smoking, drug use, and sexual behaviors.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a national school-based survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state, territorial, tribal and local surveys conducted by other agencies. YRBSS monitors the health risk behaviors and prevalence rates of obesity and asthma among youth and young adults. Information includes: tobacco, drug and alcohol use, sexual behaviors, dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity. Because not every state participates, data on each individual state is not available.

Database Capabilities
Fact sheets are available by sex/ gender and racial/ ethnic group, state vs. national comparisons, and on specific behaviors that are ascertained from the more local surveys. Comprehensive results and publications are also available, and data files and the survey instruments can be downloaded into SPSS, SAS or Access. Data is available on the national, state, county and city levels.

Data Notes
Participants are students in grades 9-12. YRBSS started in 1991, so data is available for every other year since then and trend information is offered. The most recent data is from 2011, and the site does not specify when more recent data will become available. Information on the Methods and a Data User’s Manual are helpful tools in understanding the data.