National Health Interview Survey Series

Investigator(s): National Center for Health Statistics

Conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, the Health Interview Surveys (later titled National Health Interview Survey) first began gathering information as of 1957. Microdata files were permanently retained beginning in 1963. The surveys 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. The series provides a continuous sampling and interviewing of the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States through core surveys and supplemental datasets. Supplemental NHIS data provide information on topics such as AIDS knowledge and attitudes, child health care and immunization, dental care, substance abuse, hospitalization, preventive care, nursing care, prosthetic appliances, and self-care. Supplements on Aging (SOA) conducted in 1984 and 1994 and the 1984-1990 Longitudinal Study of Aging (LSOA) were designed to furnish information on the causes and correlates of changes in the health and functioning of older Americans. Another component of the NHIS is the National Health Interview Survey on Disability (NHIS-D). Begun in 1994, the NHIS-D was designed to collect data that can be used to understand disability and to develop public policy on disability. Starting in 1997, the NHIS was redesigned to include a basic module, a periodic module, and a topical module. The basic module corresponds to the NHIS core questionnaire and is made up of the family core, the sample adult core, and the sample child core questions. The periodic module provides more detailed information on topics resulting from the basic module. The topical modules correspond to the supplements of the 1982-1996 NHIS and focus on public health data needs as they arise.