National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

Topic/focus: General Health and Nutrition
Year(s): 1963 - 1996; 1997 - present
Source: National Center for Health Statistics
Study and sample characteristics: Interview
Universe: Non-institutionalized civilians
Variables: Varies by file and year (100+ in 1996 person file)
Access: Publically available
Cost: Free
Key web links: National Health Interview Survey
Primary Institutional Contact: EDRC Coordinator (

Summary: Produced annually, the NHIS is a continuing nationwide survey conducted in households. It includes a "core" set of questions on health-related variables which generally change little from year to year, and supplements which can vary yearly. The NHIS core is organized into household, person, doctor visit, hospital stay, and condition files and includes demographics as well as such items as type of living quarters, size of family, work-loss days, school-loss days, limitation of activity, injuries, place and date of doctor visit, type of doctor seen, hospital admission and discharge dates, hospital ownership, type of service, and type of condition. The NHIS supplements have covered such topics as immunization, AIDS, disability, access to care, health insurance, environmental health, hearing, diabetes, pregnancy and smoking, cancer, dental care, and eye care.