Iowa Public Health Data

Iowa Youth Health Assessment Program


Fall 2021 Administration of IYS & YRBS 

September 27 thru November 12, 2021

To help schools and community stakeholders respond to the emerging health needs of Iowa students, reliable youth health behavior data is critical. That’s why the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is excited to resume administration of the Iowa Youth Survey (IYS) and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), previously postponed due to the pandemic.

Every two years, IDPH administers these two surveys to better understand the health behaviors of Iowa’s students. The Iowa Youth Survey and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey are the most frequently used sources of data on key behaviors impacting youth health in Iowa. Data are used at the school, county, state, and national levels to inform policy and funding, to develop program strategy, and for surveillance and research purposes.

Administrative Improvements

To reduce burden on schools and students, IDPH will perform joint administration of the surveys. This will result in several administrative improvements:

  • in-person support for schools participating in both surveys 
  • web-based adminstration
  • an extensively revised and tested IYS questionnaire that is shorter and easier for students to understand 
  • the addition of 16 questions on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to the YRBS


SCROLL DOWN FOR 2021 SCHOOL SURVEY ADMINISTRATION RESOURCES or go to https://iowayouthsurvey.idph.state.ia.us/

Students will complete the 2021 IYS online along with participating public and non-public students in grades 6, 8, and 11. By accessing the Iowa Youth Survey website or scrolling below, school administrators can find information about the 2021 survey including training information, forms, and directions as well as publicly-available reports from previous iterations and data infographics for distribution to teachers, staff, and parents. The Iowa Youth Survey publicly-available reports from 2021 will be available in early 2022.


The 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey will involve a small number of Iowa public high schools randomly selected by our survey partner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For selected schools also participating in the Iowa Youth Survey, this will only impact 11th grade students. Using strategic survey methodologies, IDPH will ensure that no student takes both surveys while allowing for the most robust collection of data possible. We will work closely with selected schools to coordinate this new joint survey administration. Learn more and access past reports including our 2019 video report and data infographics below. Sampled schools will be contacted in July.

For questions about either survey, please contact us at iowayouthsurvey@idph.iowa.gov. Thank you for your interest and participation in the 2021 Iowa Youth Health Assessments.


Stakeholders Value Iowa's Youth Surveys 

Hear how stakeholders, including Iowa's mental health advocates and student leaders, use data from the youth health behavior surveys. And learn why your school should participate in the fall 2021 surveys.

Fall 2021 youth surveys stakeholder video screenshot, bright pink background with teen female of color with long curly hair smiling and pointing upward to a yellow sign that says Student Leaders; click to go to IDPH YouTube page to watch the video


Created in 2019, the Iowa Youth Health Assessment Program administers three surveys related to student health. Together these surveys provide necessary data for state and community stakeholders to make data-driven funding, policy and program decisions.The surveys are: the Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), Iowa Youth Survey (IYS), and School Health Profiles.

Data for Health Equity

The Iowa Youth Health Assessment Program is committed to promoting health equity by collecting, stratifying and disseminating data that identify disparities, help set priorities and contribute to improved health outcomes for all young people living in Iowa. Please see YRBS and IYS data reports and infographics below for current information on health disparities experienced by subpopulations of Iowa youth.



Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)


What is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)?

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded project that was developed in 1990 to monitor a selection of youth health behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability. These behaviors are often developed during childhood and adolescence. The Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey is administered to 9th through 12th grade students in a randomly selected sample of Iowa high schools in odd calendar years. The YRBS assists the Iowa Department of Public Health with understanding youth behaviors that relate to:

  • Injuries
  • Violence
  • Unintended Pregnancy
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (Including HIV)
  • Alcohol and Drug Use
  • Tobacco Use
  • Unhealthy Dietary Behaviors
  • Lack of Physical Activity

The YRBS also allows IDPH to assess the prevalence of obesity in Iowa youth.  

After multiple years of being administered by the Iowa Department of Education, the survey became incorporated into the work of the Iowa Department of Public Health's Data Management and Health Equity Program in 2018.

Where can I find Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data?

A video report of the 2019 Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey can be viewed at the IDPH YouTube channel.   

Data from the 2019 Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey can be found below.

2019 Iowa YRBS Youth Health Behavior Highlights            2019 Iowa YRBS Health Disparities in Male Students             2019 Iowa YRBS Health Disparities in Female Students 

 2019 Iowa YRBS Health Behavior Highlights in Latinx/Hispanic Youth           2019 Iowa YRBS Health Disparities in Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Youth             2019 Iowa YRBS Highlights Adolescent Sexual Health

National YRBS and states data from 2019 can be found through the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System webpage.

Data from previous administrations of the Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey can be found here.

Where can I find more information about the Iowa Youth Risk Behavior Survey?

More information can be found on the CDC's webpage here. You can also review the materials below:


Iowa Youth Survey (IYS)

What is the Iowa Youth Survey?

For more than two decades, the IYS has provided data on priority health behaviors and experiences among 6th, 8th, and 11th graders. Conducted biennially, the IYS provides data by county, AEA region, judicial district, substance abuse prevention and treatment planning region, and at the state level. Participating schools receive a district-level report. To access all resources related to the Iowa Youth Survey, click here.


Fall 2021 IYS--School Resources

Video: Stakeholders Value Iowa's Youth Surveys
New 2021! Special Report: Mental Health Disparities Among Youth in Iowa: Analysis of the Iowa Youth Survey (2014, 2016, 2018)

2014-2018 Iowa Youth Survey Youth Mental Health Disparities & Trends           2018 Iowa Youth Survey Youth Mental Health Female Racial Disparities


School Health Profiles

What is the School Health Profiles (Profiles)?

The School Health Profiles (Profiles) is a system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts, and territories. Profiles surveys are conducted biennially, in years opposite the YRBS, by education and health agencies among middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers. Profiles monitors the current status of: 

• School health education requirements and content

• Physical education and physical activity

• Practices related to bullying and sexual harassment

• School health policies related to tobacco-use prevention and nutrition

• School-based health services

• Family engagement and community involvement

• School health coordination

The 2020 Iowa School Health Profiles report can be found below. Click the image to open the report.

Front page Iowa 2020 School Healt Profiles Report Sample Description and Weighting Procedures Principal Survey and Lead Health Teacher Survey Combined    2020 Iowa School Health Profiles Report Weighted Principal Survey Results    2020 Iowa School Health Profiles Report Weighted Lead Health Education Teacher Survey Results

We invite education and health officials, community stakeholders, and parents to utilize this data to:

• Describe school health policies and practices and compare them across jurisdictions

• Identify professional development needs

• Plan and monitor programs

• Support health-related policies and legislation

• Seek funding

• Garner support for future surveys

For more information about Public Health Data, please call (515) 725-2179 or use the Contact Us system to submit a question online.