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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

Household Surveys
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Household surveys are a main source of data about health. This page presents three of the leading federal surveys and introduces key features of these types of surveys. Linked pages describe key features of these examples. Each example illustrates a different approach to collecting and reporting estimates based on household surveys.

The National Health Interview Survey has been conducted since 1957 by the National Center for health statistics [NCHS] and its predecessor agency. The survey collects data from a large representative sample of households in the United States. NHIS is “the principal source of information on the health of the civilian non-institutionalized population of the United States.” It includes data on health status, care, demography and behaviors.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system consists of a series of state based household surveys conducted by state health departments with technical assistance and support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [CDC]

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA]. The survey tracks substance abuse and mental health of the “non-institutionalized” population of the United States.
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