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Codes and Frequencies

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For sample persons under 5 years old, HEADTURNEV reports if the child has ever turned his or her head from side to side.

HEADTURNEV is the first in a series of fifty motor and social development questions. To limit the number of questions asked about each child, the interviewer began questions at a point determined by the child's age in months (up to 23 months) or years (for 2, 3, and 4 year old children) to represent typical development for a child of that age. Questions were then asked in descending order about milestones typical of children younger than their age until five consecutive "Yes" responses were given, indicating that they have attained that developmental age.

The interviewer then returned to the first question after the position indicating the child's chronological age, and asked questions in order of ascending developmental sequence until five consecutive "No" responses were given, indicating that the child has not attained that developmental age. One or more of the five consecutive "No" responses may have been given at the beginning of the first sequence, thus requiring less than five consecutive "No" responses in the second sequence.

These "Yes" and "No" responses can be used to infer a developmental window for the sample child.

If 10 consecutive "No" responses were given in the first sequence, the interviewer did not continue asking questions in the first or second sequence.

Child motor and social development variables should be combined with AGE, BIRTHMO (Month of birth), and INTERVWMO (Month of NHIS interview) to provide complete information about the child's developmental progress. For related variables, please use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.


There are no comparability issues.


  • 1981: Sample persons under age 5.


  • 1981