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 Health Interview Survey, 1988 (ICPSR 9412)

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. Household variables in this data collection include type of living quarters, size of family, number of families in household, and geographic region. Person variables include sex, age, race, marital status, veteran status, education, income, industry and occupation codes, and limits on activity. The Condition, Doctor Visit, and Hospital files contain information on each reported condition, two-week doctor visit, or hospitalization (12-month recall), respectively.

Series: National Health Interview Survey Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Household - Download All Files (25.7 MB)
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DS2:  Person - Download All Files (49.4 MB)
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DS3:  Condition - Download All Files (38.2 MB)
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DS4:  Doctor Visit - Download All Files (17.6 MB)
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DS5:  Hospital - Download All Files (13.7 MB)
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Study Description


U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. NATIONAL HEALTH INTERVIEW SURVEY, 1988. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics [producer], 1989. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1990.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   chronic disabilities, chronic illnesses, disabilities, doctor visits, health, health care, health care services, health policy, health problems, hospitalization, households, illness

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Date of Collection:  

  • 1988

Universe:   Civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Per agreement with NCHS, ICPSR distributes the data file(s) and technical documentation in this collection in their original form as prepared by NCHS. The age distribution for the Person file is: ages 0-44 (N=83,883), ages 45-54 (N=12,362), ages 55-64 (N=10,940), ages 65-74 (N=9,286), ages 75+ (N=5,839), black respondents (N=18,713), and Hispanic respondents (N=9,582). The data contain ampersands, dashes, and blank codes.


Sample:   Starting in 1985, the NHIS multistage probability sampling from 1,924 geographically defined Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) 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 201 PSUs were selected, including two from each nonself-representing stratum. Black persons were oversampled. Four independent representative samples were drawn which may be used in any combination.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Restrictions: In preparing the data tape(s) 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 restriction.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-18 File CB9412.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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