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National Health Interview Survey, 1986 (ICPSR 8976)

Principal Investigator(s):


The basic purpose of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is to obtain information about the amount and distribution of illness, its effects in terms of disability and chronic impairments, and the kinds of health services people receive. There are five types of records in the core survey, each in a separate data file. The variables in the Household File (Part 1) include type of living quarters, size of family, number of families in household, and geographic region. The variables in the Person File (Part 2) include sex, age, race, marital status, veteran status, education, income, industry and occupation codes, and limits on activity. These variables are found in the Condition, Doctor Visit, and Hospital Episode Files as well. The Person File also supplies data on height, weight, bed days, doctor visits, hospital stays, years at residence, and region variables. The Condition (Part 3), Doctor Visit (Part 4), and Hospital Episode (Part 5) Files contain information on each reported condition, two-week doctor visit, or hospitalization (twelve-month recall), respectively. A sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth file have been added along with the five core files. The Dental Health Supplement (Part 6) includes variables that report on dental care and dental health, as well as dental visits, length of hospital stay, reasons for visits to the dentist, use of fluorides, and other oral health practices. Respondents for the Functional Limitations Supplement (Part 7) were persons age 65 and older. Questions concerned degree of difficulty in performing activities of daily living. The Health Insurance Supplement (Part 8) contains questions pertaining to job stability and layoff as well as type of insurance held, such as Medicare or other types of health insurance coverage. For the Longest Job Worked Supplement (Part 9) respondents were persons age 25 or older who had worked. Information obtained in this supplement determines the effects of a person's job on his or her health. Respondents for the Vitamin/Mineral Intake Supplement (Part 10) were sampled from those age 2-6 and those 18 or older. Proxies for the children and the adults themselves were asked questions to determine individual consumption of these nutrients and their effects on health.

Series: National Health Interview 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.

DS1:  Household - Download All Files (53.9 MB)
DS2:  Person - Download All Files (119.2 MB)
DS3:  Condition - Download All Files (100.2 MB)
DS4:  Doctor Visit - Download All Files (57.1 MB)
DS5:  Hospital - Download All Files (49.8 MB)
DS6:  Dental Health Supplement - Download All Files (133.4 MB)
DS7:  Functional Limitations Supplement - Download All Files (57.7 MB)
DS8:  Health Insurance Supplement - Download All Files (185.1 MB) large dataset
DS9:  Longest Job Worked Supplement - Download All Files (90.8 MB)
DS10:  Vitamin/Mineral Intake Supplement - Download All Files (96.2 MB)

Study Description


United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey, 1986. ICPSR08976-v3. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-06-02. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08976.v3

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   activities of daily living, chronic disabilities, chronic illnesses, disabilities, doctor visits, health, health care, health care services, health policy, health problems, hospitalization, illness, job tenure, older adults

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1986

Date of Collection:  

  • 1986

Universe:   Civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States and the District of Columbia from 1,900 geographically defined Primary Sampling Units (PSUs).

Data Types:   clinical data, survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data contain ampersands (&), dashes (-), and blank codes. There are 837 Black respondents of all ages in the Functional Limitations Supplement. The age distribution for this supplement is: N=4,401 ages 65-74, and N=2,791 ages 75 and older. There are 10,053 Black respondents of all ages in the Person File and the Health and Dental Insurance Supplements. The age distribution for these files is: N=48,998 ages 6-54, N=5,862 ages 55-64, N=4,401 ages 65-74, N=2,791 ages 75 and older. There are 2,206 Black respondents of all ages in the Vitamin/Mineral Intake Supplement and the age distribution for this supplement is: N=12,302 ages 6-54, N=2,006 ages 55-64, N=1,865 ages 54-74, N=1,233 ages 75 and older. There are 5,225 Black respondents of all ages in the Longest Job Worked Supplement and the age distribution is: N=24,863 ages 6-54, N=5,862 ages 55-64, N=4,401 ages 65-74, N=2,701 ages 75 and older.

Selected value labels have not been included in the STATA files for the Vitamin/Mineral Intake Supplement (Part 10) of this study. Due to a limitation in STATA, all labels applied to numeric values with decimal places have been removed from the STATA files for Part 10.


Sample:   Starting in 1985, the NHIS multi-stage probability sampling design incorporates several major changes that facilitate linkages with other National Center for Health Statistics surveys, improve precision of estimates, and reduce costs. Starting with an all-area frame, a reduced number of 198 PSUs were selected, including two from each non-self representing stratum. Black persons were oversampled. Four independent representative samples were drawn which may be used in any combination.

Weight:   Detailed information regarding the use of weights is located within the documentation.

Mode of Data Collection:   face-to-face interview

Data Source:

personal interviews

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 online analysis version with question text.

Restrictions: In preparing the data files for this collection, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has removed direct identifiers and characteristics that might lead to identification of data subjects. As an additional precaution, NCHS requires, under Section 308(d) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242m), that data collected by NCHS not be used for any purpose other than statistical analysis and reporting. NCHS further requires that analysts not use the data to learn the identity of any persons or establishments and that the director of NCHS be notified if any identities are inadvertently discovered. ICPSR member institutions and other users ordering data from ICPSR are expected to adhere to these restrictions.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2011-06-02 SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files have been added. Some corresponding documentation has been updated, as well as selected value labels not included in the STATA files for the Vitamin/Mineral Intake Supplement (Part 10).
  • 2006-01-18 File MAN8976.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-18 File CB8976AP.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-18 File CB8976.ALL.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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