Protocol - Birthplace

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The respondent completes the self-administered questionnaire by indicating his or her place of birth. If he or she was born in the United States, an additional question captures the state, if known. If he or she was not born in the United States, another open-ended question asks for this location.

Specific Instructions



The following question has been revised from the original. Where were you born?

[ ] In the United States - Print name of state


[ ] Outside the United States - Print U.S. Territory (e.g., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam) or name of foreign country, etc.




Personnel and Training Required

This question may be self-administered (as in the source protocol) or administered by an interviewer with a paper-and-pencil or computer-assisted interview. The interviewer must be trained to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population. The interviewer must be trained and found to be competent (i.e., tested by an expert) at the completion of personal interviews.* The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a "don’t know" response is provided.

* There are multiple modes to administer this question (e.g., paper-and-pencil and computer-assisted interviews).

Equipment Needs

Either a paper-and-pencil or computer-assisted instrument may be used. If a computer-assisted instrument is used, computer software may be necessary to develop the instrument. The interviewer will require a laptop computer or handheld computer to administer a computer-assisted questionnaire.

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered or interviewer-administered questionnaire


Infant, Toddler, Child, Adolescent, Adult, Senior, Pregnancy


Any age. A proxy may also provide this information.

Selection Rationale

Birthplace can be informative of a respondent’s race/ethnicity and ancestry. Open-ended response was preferred to a coded list of countries.


Chinese, English, Spanish

caDSR Common Data Elements (CDE) Person Geographic Birth Place Text 2682009 CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Birthplace proto 63046-7 LOINC
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #2 (ERP 2) reviewed the measures in the Demographics, Environmental Exposures, and Social Environments domains.

Guidance from ERP 2 includes:

• No significant changes to measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)

Protocol Name from Source

American Community Survey (ACS), 2008


U.S. Census Bureau. (2008). American Community Survey (ACS), 2008. Washington, DC: Author. Question number: Person 1, #7.

General References

Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G) Data Schema and Harmonization Platform for Epidemiological Research (DataSHaPER).

U.S. Census Bureau. (2007). 2006 American Community Survey Content Test Report P.1. Evaluation report covering place of birth, U.S. citizenship status, and year of arrival. Washington, DC: Author.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX010201010000 Where were you born? Variable Mapping
PX010201020000 Where were you born? In the United States - more
Print name of state. Outside the United States - Print U.S. Territory (e.g., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam) or name of foreign country etc. show less
Variable Mapping
Measure Name


Release Date

February 6, 2009


Question asking the respondent in what country he or she was born.


Birthplace is requested to determine if the individual was born in the United States, in a U.S. Territory, or in a foreign country. Large national surveys like the U.S. Census and American Community Survey (ACS) use birthplace data to quantify immigration.


birthplace, Demographics, ancestry, immigration, place of birth, country of birth, American Community Survey, ACS, U.S. Census Bureau, immigrant health

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
10201 Birthplace