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National Household Education Survey (NHES)

The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population and offers researchers, educators, and policymakers a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States.

The NHES surveys cover learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood. The most recent data collection in 2019 consisted of two topical surveys: Parent and Family Involvement (PFI) in Education and Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP). We are collecting data on these same topics in 2023.

If you have been asked to participate in this survey, this site will help you verify that the survey came from the Census Bureau, verify that the person who called is a Census Bureau employee, and inform you of how we protect your data.


The National Household Education Survey (NHES) provides up-to-date information on the educational needs for people in the United States.  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 two to three years from 1991 to 2016. 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. The most recent collection of NHES was in 2019, and the next collection will be in 2023.

Why is this survey important?

This survey is the only way that the Department of Education can learn about children's early care and education and students' schooling, from your perspective. The results will help policymakers, researchers, and educators understand the educational needs of our diverse population in changing times. You represent thousands of other households like yours, and you cannot be replaced.

What is the legal authority for conducting this survey?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education, is authorized to conduct this survey by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA 2002, 20 U.S.C. §9543).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed this survey and its collection plan and has approved it for posing minimal burden to the public to complete, and for adequately safeguarding respondents’ data. The OMB approval number for this survey is 1850-0768.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts this survey on behalf of the NCES.

Why was I chosen for this survey?

Your address was randomly selected to be part of this survey from a list of all the addresses in the United States. We do not know who lives at each address. However, every address had a chance to be selected. Now that your address was chosen, your response is vital to the success of the study!

How can I respond to this survey?

You can respond in one of the following ways:

  • Completing via the web survey. Letters for some participants may have a QR code which leads to the same webpage (and secure connection) as a traditional URL; or
  • Completing the paper form mailed to you; or
  • By calling our toll-free number (1-888-840-8353) and completing the survey by phone.

You can get help by calling our toll-free number at 1-888-840-8353.  You may also email us at NHES@census.gov.

How much time will it take to respond to this survey?

If you have no children, the survey will take about 3 minutes. If you do have children, the survey will take about 30 minutes or less. 

How can I verify that the person contacting me is a Census Bureau employee?

If you have received a letter requesting you to participate in the survey, a Census Bureau employee may contact you by phone to remind you to complete the survey by telephone. He or she will always provide you with his or her name and interviewer code to confirm employment with the Census Bureau.

To protect your privacy, the National Household Education Survey NEVER asks for:

  • your Social Security number
  • your personal information via email
  • money or donations
  • credit card information

You can verify the legitimacy of a call from the Census Bureau by visiting:

What if this survey is not relevant to my situation?

We need responses from households with and without children in school to get survey results that represent everyone in the U.S. population. So, even if you don’t feel it’s relevant to your situation, we’d still like to get your response. If there are no children in your household, you will only need to answer one question! If you feel you received the NHES in error, please contact the Census Bureau toll-free at 1-888-840-8353 or by emailing at nhes@census.gov.

Is participation mandatory?

While there is no penalty for not responding, a high response rate is very important to the success of the survey. Your answers and opinions are very important the success of this study.

When you respond to the National Household Education Survey, you are helping your community and the nation. Your answers, combined with others, become the statistics used to make informed decisions about early care and education, students' schooling, and adult training and education. Those who do not complete the survey will not be represented in key statistics used by policymakers and researchers.

Can I be identified by my responses?

All of the information you provide may be used only for statistical purposes and may not be disclosed, or used, in identifiable form for any other purpose except as required by law (20 U.S.C. §9573 and 6 U.S.C. §151).

More information on how your privacy is respected is available here.

How do I know my responses are safe?

The responses that are collected from surveys conducted by the Census Bureau are encrypted both in transit and at rest on the Census Bureau’s servers. These servers are part of a stand-alone network that is not accessible by the Internet. These servers are constantly monitored for any attempts at intrusion.

Where can I find the statistics produced by this survey?

The Department of Education wants to understand the condition of education in the United States. This survey is the only way that the Department of Education can learn about schooling from your perspective. Your responses will be combined with those from other households to inform educators, policymakers, schools and universities about changes in the condition of education in the United States.

This 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, R, CSV files and STATA.

What if I have additional questions, recommendations, or issues that I need resolved?

If you have been selected to participate in the survey and you wish to speak to someone, please contact our telephone centers at 1-888-840-8353. The U.S. Census Bureau is also available to answer your questions via e-mail at nhes@census.gov.

If you have any comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate, suggestions for improving this collection, or comments or concerns about the contents or the status of your individual submission of this questionnaire, please e-mail: nhes@census.gov, or write directly to: National Household Education Survey (NHES), National Center for Education Statistics, Potomac Center Plaza, 550 12th Street SW, Room #4018, Washington, DC 20202.

The Census Bureau has a web page “Are You In A Survey” designed to answer additional questions you might have about being in a Census survey.

Page Last Revised - March 8, 2023
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