This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), the aging program within ICPSR. NACDA is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH).

National Hospital Discharge Survey: 1979, 1980, and 1981 (ICPSR 8600)

Principal Investigator(s):


The National Hospital Discharge Survey provides data on the utilization of nonfederal short-stay hospitals. It is a continuous survey based on a sample of medical records of patients discharged from a national sample of these hospitals. The survey contains information on the patients' demographic characteristics (sex, date of birth, age, race, and marital status), dates of admission and discharge, discharge status, diagnoses, and surgery performed.

Series: National Hospital Discharge Survey Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Data for 1979 - Download All Files (206.4 MB) large dataset
DS2:  Data for 1980 - Download All Files (212.4 MB) large dataset
DS3:  Data for 1981 - Download All Files (221.6 MB) large dataset

Study Description


United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Hospital Discharge Survey: 1979, 1980, and 1981. ICPSR08600-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-01-22.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   demographic characteristics, health care facilities, health services utilization, hospitalization, hospitals, illness, medical care, medical evaluation, medical procedures, medical records, patients, payment methods, treatment

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1978--1981

Date of Collection:  

  • 1979--1981

Universe:   Discharges from short-stay hospitals listed in The National Master Facility Inventory of Hospitals and Institutions excluding military and VA hospitals as recorded on each hospital's daily discharge listing. Short-stay hospitals are defined as those facilities whose average inpatient stay is less than thirty days.

Data Types:   event/transaction data, survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data contain dash [-], equal sign [=], apostrophe ['], and right parenthesis [)] codes.


Sample:   Sampling is done in two stages. Sample hospitals are drawn with probabilities ranging from certainty for large hospitals to 1 in 40 for the smallest hospitals. Sample discharges are then selected by a random technique based on the patient's medical record number. The sampling ratio for selecting sample discharges within each hospital varies inversely with the probability of selection of the hospital. This is to assure that the overall probability of selecting a discharge is the same in each size class.

Data Source:

Hospital records transcribed to abstract forms by either hospital staff or United States Census Bureau employees.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2009-01-22 The documentation has been updated.
  • 2008-11-18 New files were added. These files included one or more of the following: Stata setup, SAS transport (CPORT), SPSS system, Stata system, SAS supplemental syntax, and Stata supplemental syntax files, and a tab- delimited ASCII data file.;
  • 2006-01-18 File CB8600.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

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