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

Features of Household Surveys
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Household surveys collect information by sampling the homes where people live and then interviewing one or more persons at each home.

Household surveys are the most common type because they offer a standard way of collecting information.

Key advantages are:
  • Most people live in households allowing for almost complete coverage of the population.
  • Households provide a convenient place where people can be contacted to be interviewed.
  • A large number of household surveys are collected allowing for cross validation of the results.
  • The Census collects baseline information about households which helps calibrate results.

There are several important limits to the use of these surveys:
They rely on responses provided by the people living in households.

These depend on respondents:
  • Willingness to provide information,
  • Memory of respondents,
  • Understanding of the questions and
  • Knowledge of health conditions.
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