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Information for Researchers

  • How do I access NHES public release data?

All NHES data products are available online, here, free of charge. The NHES data products website contains all public-use NHES data from 1991 through the most recently released data in flat (ASCII) data files and the installation (setup) files for SAS, SPSS, and STATA. NHES public-use data files from 1999 are available by downloading them from the NCES website using the EDAT application. To access the data through EDAT, click here.

  • Can I use NHES data for state- or county-level analysis?

The NHES data are intended to generate national and regional (e.g. North, East, South, Midwest, West) estimates. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact the NHES staff at

  • How can I access NHES publications?

A listing of NHES publications released by the National Center for Education Statistics is available online at Most publications can be downloaded, viewed online, or ordered free of charge. All recent publications are available online.

  • Where can I find statistics on the NHES survey topics, such as adults, young children, and school-age children?

Statistics from NHES surveys are published in NCES reports. You can browse the list of NHES publications or search all NCES publications online.

  • Where can I find the NHES questionnaires?

The questionnaires are currently available at

  • Do the NHES data files contain a measure of household poverty?

There are no derived variables on any of the NHES data files intended to measure household poverty status. There are many ways that poverty can be measured, and data users are encouraged to create their own poverty measures.

The U. S. Bureau of the Census does provide guidelines for the computation of poverty measures. Visit their website at for more information. Census Bureau thresholds compare household income to the number of members in a household to create exact income thresholds for poverty. If you use Census Bureau poverty thresholds to compute a measure of poverty, consider the following:

In the 1991 NHES surveys, exact household income was not ascertained. For this year, consider using the grouped income range to construct a poverty measure.

In the NHES surveys after 1991, not all respondents were asked to provide exact household income. Census Bureau thresholds were used as a guideline to determine which respondents should be asked about the exact household income. Only those respondents in households with an income range and a number of household members that create an ambiguous poverty status are asked the exact household income. This logic can be seen by examining the questionnaire skip patterns between the grouped income and exact income questions.

Over time, the Census Bureau revises poverty thresholds for previous years. Thus, analyses conducted in the past may use poverty thresholds that have been modified slightly since publication. Make sure that you document any thresholds that you use in constructing poverty measures.