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National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES)

1. Overview

NHES addresses topical issues on a rotating basis:
  • Adult training and education
  • Homeschooling
  • Young children’s care and education
  • Parent/family involvement in education

The National Household Education Surveys (NHES) program surveys the noninstitutionalized, civilian population of the United States. NHES is designed to provide information on educational issues that are best addressed by contacting households rather than schools or other education institutions. It offers policymakers, researchers, and educators a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States.


To (1) provide reliable estimates of the U.S. population regarding specific education-related topics; and (2) conduct repeated measurements of the same educational phenomena at different points in time.


The NHES program for a given year typically consists of (1) a screener ( a questionnaire that collects household composition and demographic data); and (2) two or three topical surveys (extended questionnaires addressing specific education-related topics). The most recent NHES:2016 collection included topical components on adult training, early childhood program participation, and parent and family involvement in education for children enrolled in school and homeschooled children. NHES has been conducted approximately every other year since 1991. There was a 5 –year gap in data collection between 2007 and 2012 when NHES switched from a telephone survey to a mail /web survey.

Adult Training. The Adult Training and Education Survey was added in 2016 (ATES-NHES: 2016) and collected information on educational attainment, prevalence and characteristics of certifications and licenses and their holders, prevalence and characteristics of educational certificates and certificate holders, and completion and key characteristics of work experience programs such as apprenticeships and internships. Eligible respondents were noninstitutionalized adults ages to 16 and 65 who were not enrolled in high school. ATES–NHES:2016 data cannot be compared to prior NHES data because ATES–NHES:2016 consists of new questions that focus on “adult training” whereas previous NHES surveys focused on “adult education”.

Early Childhood Program Participation. Early Childhood Program Participation Surveys were conducted in 2016, 2012, 2005, 2001, 1999, 1995, and 1991 . The Early Childhood Program Participation Survey of 2016 (ECPP-NHES: 2016) was the seventh collection for this topic and provided data on children’s participation in care by relatives and non-relatives in private homes and in center-based daycare or preschool programs  (including Head Start and Early Head Start ). Additional topics included family learning activities, out-of-pocket expenses for nonparental care, continuity of care, factors related to parental selection of care arrangements, parents’ perceptions of care quality, child health, and child, parent, and household characteristics. Children between birth and age 6 (and who were not yet in kindergarten) were sampled; respondents were parents or guardians in the household who knew about the sampled child.

Parent and Family Involvement in Education. Surveys on this topic were conducted in 2016, 2012, 2007, 2003, 1999, and 1996. The 2016 Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (PFI–NHES:2016) and 2012 Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey (PFI-NHES:2012) collected information for  enrolled students (PFI–Enrolled) and homeschooled students (PFI–Homeschooled). The PFI-NHES:2016 collected information about various aspects of parent involvement in education, such as help with homework, family activities, and parent involvement at school. The PFI-NHES:2012 collected information on family involvement in students’ schools and in home learning activities, school choice, school characteristics, student experiences in school, teacher feedback on the child’s performance and behavior, family help with homework, factors affecting family involvement, and characteristics of homeschooling. Students in kindergarten through grade 12 who were enrolled in school or homeschooled were sampled; respondents were parents or guardians in the household who knew about the sampled child.

One key topic of NHES is homeschooling, information on which is currently collected as part of the PFI–NHES topical component. For homeschooled students, the survey asks questions related to students’ homeschooling experiences, the sources of the curriculum, and the reasons for homeschooling


Previous components. NHES has consisted of different topical components in prior years, including: adult education; before- and after-school programs and activities; civic involvement; school readiness; household and library use; and school safety and discipline. To obtain more information regarding NHES topics organized by year, visit



NHES has been conducted in the winter/spring of 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2012, and 2016. The next data collection is projected to occur in 2019.

Data Availability

Public-use data for NHES through 2016 is available at