Healthy Kids Colorado Survey Overview

Reseña general de la Encuesta sobre salud infantil de Colorado

The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) is the state’s most comprehensive survey on the health and well-being of young people. The purpose of this survey is to better understand youth health and the factors that help young people make healthy choices.

The HKCS is widely used by schools, districts, and communities in their efforts to grow the healthiest youth in the country. The results of the survey can help:

  • Inform the creation of programming to support student success.
  • Provide direction for schools and communities to address health issues.
  • Share relevant topics with parents to help them talk to their children about their health and well-being.
  • Secure youth health program funding for schools, community organizations, and local
              and state government agencies.

2023 participation


120,239 Students

344 Schools

70 Districts

46 Counties


The state has been surveying young people about their health since 1991. In 2013, the state combined various surveys to streamline efforts and enhance data collection. This unified survey effort reduces the burden on schools and allows us to better meet the data needs of schools, local communities, and government agencies.

The HKCS is designed and implemented through a collaboration of:

  • the Colorado Departments of Public Health and Environment, Education, Human Services, and Public Safety
  • the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) Survey Team at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • a community network of subject matter experts

How often is the survey administered?

The HKCS is administered in the fall of odd-numbered years. All participating schools receive reports summarizing their survey results within 4 weeks of administration. The CSPH Survey Team aids schools and districts with accessing and interpreting their local results. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) publishes aggregated statewide and regional survey results in the summer of even-numbered years. 



Participation in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is completely voluntary. The survey has many levels of consent, including districts, schools, parents, and youth, before the survey is administered. The HKCS has a rigorous policy to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of young people taking the survey. No names are collected, data is stored securely, and results are aggregated in reports.

Research shows that young people respond just as credible as adults on anonymous and confidential health surveys. Asking a young person questions on a survey does not influence their health behavior. We have seen risky health behaviors steadily decline nationwide since youth survey activities were amplified more than 30 years ago.



The HKCS is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Professional researchers randomly select schools to include in the state sample to represent students in grades 6-12. In 2023, the state sample included 60,078 students at 105 high schools and middle schools. View key takeaways from the 2023 results in English and Spanish.

Researchers weight results to represent student enrollment in all Colorado public middle and high schools. The weights account for sampling design, school, and student nonparticipation and nonresponse, and differences in grade, gender, and race and ethnicity between the sample and the population. Schools not selected for the state sample can opt-in to participate. In 2023, 239 schools opted in to participate.