Youth experiences and behaviors during adolescence can affect overall well-being and impact on their lifelong health. The Office of Population Affairs (OPA) selected these interactive tools that allow users to explore demographic and health characteristics of adolescents in the United States and U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, all of which are comprised of publicly available federal data. To learn more about the racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic structure of this population, visit America’s Diverse Adolescents.
- Data analysis: the process of inspecting, cleaning, and modeling data to glean insights.
- Data comparability: refers to the degree to which data can be compared over time and is a characteristic that can determine data quality.
- Data quality: refers to how fit a dataset is for its intended uses based on accuracy, completeness, reliability, relevance, and timeliness.
- Data visualization: a way to represent information or data in an easy-to-understand graphic with static or interactive items that highlight patterns and trends.
- Database: an organized collection of structured information or data, typically stored in a computer system for easy access, sorting, and management.
- Dataset: a structured collection of related items that can be accessed and processed individually or as a unit.
- Indicator: a summary measure or statistic derived from observed facts that describe a condition, experience, or behavior (e.g., school attendance, teen birth rate).
- Query: a request for data from a database.
COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Data Comparability
The COVID-19 pandemic limited the ability to collect data, leading to delays or discontinuation of field operations in 2020 or later. Surveys that rely on in-person interviews experienced the greatest impact. In some cases, researchers changed measures or methodologies. This raises issues of quality and comparability for data collected before, during, and after the pandemic. Learn more about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on key health metrics and measures and considerations for getting data that may not be available from usual HHS systems.
Best Practices for Using Interactive Data Tools
Interactive data tools are increasingly available. As a result, digital storytellers must take a thoughtful approach to ensure users understand the intended takeaways. When using these tools to create a chart or graph, use the following best practices:
- Allow the data and audience needs to direct the format and style of the visualization.
- Review methodology reports and accuracy statements before comparing data across years.
- Provide context with a brief description of the data and/or trend.
- Limit each visualization to one or two takeaways.
- Ensure all labels are clear and use sufficient color contrast to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
- Include a data table so that information can be accessed more easily by people using screen readers and mobile devices.
Adolescent Health Data Tools
National Survey Children's Health Interactive Data Query
The National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), funded and directed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), delivers rich data on noninstitutionalized children ages 0-17. NSCH measures physical and emotional health and factors that may relate to well-being such as medical home, family interactions, parental health, school experiences, and safe neighborhoods. The Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health website has three tools that allow users to compare NSCH data from 2016 to now across states and regions as well as by subgroups.
- View findings on single indicators (and by subgroups) for all states using Across-States Interactive Data Query.
- Compare states on all NSCH derived Title V National Outcome and Performance Measures using Across-State Comparison Tables.
- Compare each state’s performance to the national average on National Performance Measures and National Outcome Measures using Across-State Comparison US Maps
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a set of surveys administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to measure and track health-related behaviors and experiences of students in grades 9-12 that can lead to death and disability among youth and adults. This includes demographics like sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, sexual risk behaviors, mental health conditions, substance use, physical activity, school connectedness, violence, and unstable housing. YRBSS results are available in Youth Online, a user-friendly system that features several tools for accessing the data. These tools allow users to analyze national, state, and local results; create customized tables, maps, and graphs; and perform statistical tests by location and health topic.
- Run real-time data analyses to generate frequencies, cross tabulations, and stratified results using the YRBS Analysis Tool.
- Visualize high school survey results to show patterns over time and details from a specific year in graphs and tables using YRBS Explorer.
- Create a filtered dataset, customize visualizations, download data, and more in the Youth Risk Behaviors Data Portal.
Mental Health America Youth Ranking Maps
Mental Health America (MHA) provides up-to-date data and information about disparities faced by people with mental health problems. MHA’s Youth Ranking reports the prevalence of mental illness and the rates of access to care for youth in each state based on survey data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Department of Education (DoE), and the CDC. These interactive maps of annual youth mental health rankings display the following measures:
- Youth with at least one Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the past year
- Youth with substance use disorder in the past year
- Youth with severe MDE
- Youth with MDE who did not receive mental health services
- Youth with severe MDE who received some consistent treatment
- Children with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional problems
- Students identified with emotional disturbance for an individualized education program
Full data and infographics on adult and youth mental health measures are available in the 2022 State of Mental Health in America report.
CDC's Teen Birth Rate by State Map
CDC WONDER is an easy-to-use, menu-driven system that analyzes a wide range of public health information including data on chronic conditions, communicable diseases, and health practices. The system allows users to access statistical research data, query numeric datasets, and generate tables, charts, and maps. For example, the CDC uses National Vital Statistics System data from CDC WONDER to create this interactive map of current and past teen birth rates.
Healthy People 2030 Goals for Adolescent Health
Healthy People (HP) identifies national public health priorities to improve health and well-being and provides measurable objectives and tools to track progress. Learn about HP 2030 objectives for adolescent health and well-being.
Additional Data Sources
Explore other publicly available federal data sources for additional information on youth in the United States. This list covers reproductive health, mental health, and healthy relationships for adolescents.
- CDC Abortion Surveillance System
- CDC Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Data & Statistics
- Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
- Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
- National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)
- National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
- National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
- U.S. Census Bureau - Fertility
- U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs – Youth Violence