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Age at first menstrual period

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample female adults aged 18 and older, MENARCH reports the age when the respondent had her first menstrual period.

MENARCH was first introduced in 1987, as part of a supplement on cancer epidemiology.


Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. Data users are reminded to use the prescribed IPUMS NHIS weights in their analyses.


  • 1987: Half of female sample adults age 18+ (excluded from CACT).
  • 2000; 2005; 2010; 2015: Female sample adults age 18+.


  • 1987, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015