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National Health Interview Survey

NHIS is an annual, cross-sectional household interview survey program designed to monitor trends in illness and disability, to track progress toward achieving national health objectives, for epidemiologic and policy analysis by public health research community, determining barriers to accessing using appropriate health care and evaluating federal health programs.

NHIS questionnaire has core questions and supplements. The core questions contain four major components: Household, Family, Sample Adult and Sample Child. The Household component collects limited demographic information on all of the individuals living in a particular house. The Family component verifies and collects additional demographic information on each member from each family in the house and collects data on topics such as health status and limitations, injuries, healthcare access and utilization, health insurance, and income and assets. The Family Core component allows for additional integrated surveys as needed.

From each family, one sample adult and one sample child (if any children are present) are randomly selected and information on each is collected with the Sample Adult Core and the Sample Child Core questionnaires. Because some health issues are different for children and adults, these two questionnaires differ in some items but both collect basic information on health status, health care services, and health behaviors.

Supplements are used to respond to new public health data needs as they arise. It may provide additional detail on a subject already covered in the Core or on other topics, for instance cancer screening, complementary and alternative medicine, children’s mental health and healthcare utilization.

Years Available

Note for Data Users
  • The sample weights are not computed automatically in the database and may be calculated differently for specific research questions. Please consult BQHS for further information on how to derive sample weights.
  • The variable names may be different across time, and recoded or derived variables may be added in different cycles. Please check variable lists for details.

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