Protocol - Years Living in the U.S.

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The interviewer asks the respondent how long he or she has been in the United States, in years. The number of years (2 digits) is entered by the interviewer. If the respondent has been in the United States for less than 1 year, the entry is "0."


About how long have you been in the United States?

[2-digit entry] ________

If less than 1 year given as response, code the answer as "0"; enter "00-94" for 0-94 years, enter "95" for 95+ years, 97-Refused, 99-Don’t know

Protocol Name from Source:

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Family Questionnaire, 2007


Publicly available

Personnel and Training Required

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

While the source instrument was developed to be administered by computer, the PhenX Working Group acknowledges these questions can be administered in a noncomputerized format (i.e., paper-and-pencil instrument). Computer software is necessary to develop computer-assisted instruments. 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

Interviewer-administered questionnaire

Life Stage:



The respondent must have been born overseas.

An adult, aged 18 or older.

Specific Instructions:

The respondent must have been born overseas.

The respondent’s birthplace (country) should also be assessed.

Selection Rationale

Vetted against several other similar measures. This measure was selected because it captures number of years rather than the year (e.g., 2001) the person came to live in the United States.


English, Spanish

Common Data Elements (CDE) Person United States Residence Duration Year Number 2793232 CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Years in US proto 63060-8 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)


National Center for Health Statistics. (2007). National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Family Questionnaire, 2007. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Question number FSD.005_00.000. NHIS questionnaires, datasets, and related documentation, 1997–2008.

General References

Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G) Data Shaper.

Protocol ID:


Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX011201_Years_Living_In_US PX011201010000 About how long have you been in the United States? 4 Variable Mapping
PX011201_Years_Living_In_US_Coded PX011201010100 About how long have you been in the United States? 4 N/A
Research Domain Information
Measure Name:

Years Living in the U.S.

Release Date:

May 31, 2016


The duration (in years) of stay in the United States, asked only of immigrants.


The purpose of this measure is to provide more detailed information related to immigrants than captured by nativity or birthplace alone. Duration in the United States has been related to various health behaviors, health outcomes, and access to health care.


Demographics, acculturation, immigrants, immigration, birthplace, National Center for Health Statistics, NCHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, National Health Interview Survey, NHIS