BRFSS Today: Facts and Highlights


50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Palau.

In 2014

More than 506,000 interviews were conducted, based on a BRFSS questionnaire consisting of three parts: core questions, optional modules, and state-added questions. For more survey details, please see the BRFSS Questionnaires

New 2014 Methodology Incorporated Cellular Telephone Use

Advantages: Maintains representativeness, coverage, validity of the BRFSS data.
Highlights: New weighting methodology—raking, or iterative proportional fitting—replaced the post stratification weighting method that had been used with previous BRFSS data sets. In addition to age, gender, and race/ethnicity, raking permits more demographic variables to be included in weighting such as education attainment, marital status, tenure (property ownership), and telephone ownership. Including new variables in the weighting process can reduce the potential for selection bias while increasing representation. For more information see the Methodologic Changes in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2011 and Potential Effects on Prevalence Estimates. MMWR Weekly June 8, 2012 / 61(22);410-413.
Note: Estimates from the 2011 BRFSS may not be comparable to estimates created in previous years.

Local Area Data

Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends (SMART) BRFSS is an ongoing project that uses BRFSS data to produce some local area estimates. Counties and Metropolitan/Micropolitan Areas (MMSAs) were selected for SMART if there were 500 respondents or more in the 2011 BRFSS combined landline and cell phone data. Nationwide, there are 198 MMSAs and 224 counties eligible for 2011 SMART BRFSS. Please see the SMART data sets for more information.

Working Today to Enhance Tomorrow’s BRFSS

CDC will continue to work with state and federal partners to address the challenges associated with reaching participants and collecting high-quality data, by conducting these and other projects:

  • piloting and testing new modes of data collection, including Web, mail and internet panel surveys;
  • exploring new methods of interviewing hard-to-reach respondents to increase representation of all demographics;
  • providing prevalence estimates for all counties in the United States by adopting new statistical methods such as small area estimation;
  • expanding the use of the BRFSS to surveys that address emerging health problems such as the Gulf States Population Survey (GSPS) and the .