Useful Databases and Websites: YRBSS
What is the YRBSS?
YRBSS Website: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/index.htm
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) was developed in 1990 to monitor health risk behaviors of youth that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth. Surveys are conducted every two years at the national level by the CDC using a representative sample of high school students in public and private schools throughout the United States. Data are available only at the state level and at the local level of 31 large urban areas.
States and local surveys are conducted every two years by either the departments of education and/or health also using representative samples of public high school students. A chart showing which states participated, in what years they participated between 1991 and 2005, and if the data was weighted or not is available by state at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/history-states.htm.
Each state determines what questions it will include in the survey and how it will sample students, so rural information may or may not be available, depending on the choices made within each state. Because some states collect the data by school district, it would be theoretically possible to determine which school districts are rural and sort the data by school district to get rural data as compared with urban data. Check with the department in your state that is collecting the YRBSS data to determine if this is possible.
Find out how the YRBSS data are collected in your state and if rural data are not available, try to influence policy to collect it with geographic indicators, such as zip codes, that will help you obtain rural data.