Harmonized data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

IPUMS YRBSS was was a collaboration between NORC and IPUMS with funding from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products. The project entailed harmonizing data, but did not include creation of a dissemination system, so data are not provided through the usual IPUMS microdata access system. We also developed a harmonized IPUMS National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS).


The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a school-based, cross-sectional national survey of youth in grades 9-12. The YRBSS focuses on health risk behaviors that are often established during childhood and early adolescence, including behaviors associated with tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, unintentional injuries, sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, unhealthy diet, and inadequate physical activity.


IPUMS YRBSS combines all available public use microdata (as of June 2017) into a single file spanning 1991-2013. Variables are renamed and coded consistently across time to facilitate pooling and trend analysis. The harmonized data contain all of the variables and category detail of the original files; no information is lost. The codebook provides variable-level documentation noting comparability issues across survey years.

User Support

At this time, IPUMS offers limited user support for the harmonized YRBSS dataset. Users are encouraged to review the data documentation and other items below.

If you encounter difficulties accessing the material, contact ipums@umn.edu.


Researchers using the harmonized data should use the following citation:

Matthew Sobek, Daniel Backman, Greg Freedman Ellis, and Kari C.W. Williams. IPUMS Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System: Version 1.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2017. https://doi.org/10.18128/D0111.V1.0.