Pennsylvania Youth Survey

Since 1989, the Commonwealth has conducted a survey of school students in the 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades to learn about their behavior, attitudes and knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and violence. The ‘Pennsylvania Youth Survey,’ or PAYS, is sponsored and conducted every two years by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. As of 2013 PAYS is offered at no cost to all public, private, and charter schools throughout the Commonwealth.

The data gathered in PAYS serve two primary needs. First, the results provide school administrators, state agency directors, legislators and others with critical information concerning the changes in patterns of the use and abuse of these harmful substances and behaviors. Second, the survey assesses risk factors that are related to these behaviors and the protective factors that help guard against them. This information allows community leaders to direct prevention resources to areas where they are likely to have the greatest impact.

The PAYS is similar in some ways to the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, but with some important differences. See how they compare.

PAYS State and County Reports


PAYS How-to Guide & Workbook

If you are just starting this process, going through your PAYS report can be a daunting but very important task. To help get started, we've created a PAYS How-to Guide and Workbook, along with other supplemental materials that will assist you with your PAYS data.


Ask a Question

Have a question about the PAYS? You can submit a question to the EPISCenter directly. 




The Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) is Funded by:

Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs