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Surveys and Programs Contributing to Fertility

Listed below are the three surveys and one census that provide Census Bureau’s statistics on fertility. Following a general description of each program are specifics related to this topic.

American Community Survey (ACS)

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an annual, nationwide survey of more than 3.5 million households in the U.S. The ACS is part of the Decennial Census Program and replaces the long form, which the Census Bureau last used during Census 2000. The survey produces statistics on demographic, social, economic, and other characteristics about our nation's population and housing. We release ACS 1-year estimates in September for the pervious calendar year and 5-year estimates in December for the previous five calendar years.

Current Population Survey (CPS)

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is the primary source of labor force statistics for the population of the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sponsors the survey, and the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the data each month. The CPS involves a sample of about 60,000 occupied households. Households are in the survey for four consecutive months, out for eight, and then return for another four months before leaving the sample permanently.

Fertility data are collected bi-annually as part of the June Fertility Supplement.

Data on fertility for both married and never married women are available for the U.S. from 1976 to the present.

Decennial Census

The decennial census counts every resident in the U.S. once every ten years, in years ending in zero. The Constitution of the United States mandates the head count to make sure each state can fairly represent its population in the U.S. House of Representatives. States use the numbers to draw their legislative districts. The federal government uses them to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities.

The decennial census occurs every 10 years, in years ending in zero, to count the population and housing units for the entire United States. Its primary purpose is to provide the population counts that determine how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned. Information on fertility was collected in the 1980 Census for all women and in previous censuses for married women only. Previous census information can be obtained from the Census of Population and Housing website.

Data on fertility were not collected in the 2000 or 2010 decennial censuses. The last time data on fertility were collected on the decennial census was in 1990. Tabulations from the 1990 Census can be found in CP-2 report series on the social and economic characteristics of the population.

Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) provides information on the distribution of income and the success of government assistance programs. SIPP data provide the most extensive information available on how the nation’s economic well-being changes over time. The sample survey is a continuous series of national panels, each ranging from approximately 14,000 to 53,000 interviewed households. The duration of each panel ranges from 2 ½ years to 4 years.

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a longitudinal panel survey of demographic information, income, labor force characteristics, and program participation in the United States. Supplemental topical modules are included on a rotating basis and include questions on topics such as measures of fertility history and maternity leave.

Data on fertility and program participation are available for the U.S. for each panel starting in 1993.

Data on fertility are available for the U.S., states, counties, selected metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, and more specific geographic areas that meet minimum population sizes for the given survey year. There are about eight recurring tables on women’s fertility.

Data are available from 2000 to the present.


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