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Purpose and History

The chief goal of the NHES is to describe Americans’ educational experiences, thereby offering policymakers, researchers, and educators a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. To monitor educational trends over time, NHES conducts repeated measurements of the same phenomena in different years. The NHES has also fielded one-time surveys on topics of interest to the Department of Education.

The NHES has been conducted approximately every other year since 1991. There was a 5-year gap in data collection between 2007 and 2012 when the NHES switched from a telephone survey to a mail survey. Surveys include:

Surveys Data Collection Years
About young children  
   Early Childhood Program Participation 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2012, 2016, 2019
   School Readiness 1993, 1999, 2007
About school-aged children  
   Before- and After-School Programs and Activities 1999, 2001, 2005
   School Safety and Discipline 1993
   Parent and Family Involvement in Education 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2012, 2016, 2019
About adults  
   Adult education 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005
   Credentials for work 2016
   Civic Involvement 1996, 1999
   Household Library Use 1996

To see the questions asked on these surveys, browse the questionnaires. To view some of the research reports that have been based on the surveys, browse the NHES publications. To download or order CD_ROMs of the data, browse data products.