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Health Data Interactive

Data Sources

Data use to create Health Data Interactive tables come from several sources. Each table contains brief technical notes and the descriptions include links to further information on the data systems. Unless noted, all data systems are from the National Center for Health Statistics.

National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS)

The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) is a national survey providing information about the provision and use of ambulatory medical care services in the United States. Findings are based on a sample of visits to nonfederally employed office-based physicians who are primarily engaged in direct patient care. Physicians in the specialties of anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology are excluded from the survey. The survey was conducted annually from 1973 to 1981, in 1985, and annually since 1989.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a national survey designed to collect information on the health and nutritional status of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population through in-home interviews and physical examinations. The health examination is performed in a mobile exam center (MEC) where many tests are performed. Starting in 1999, NHANES has been conducted continuously.

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is the principal source of information on the health of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States. The main objective of NHIS is to monitor the health of the U.S. population through the collection and analysis of data on a broad range of health topics.

National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS)

The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) collects data on the use and provision of ambulatory care services in hospital emergency and outpatient departments. Findings are based on a national sample of visits to the emergency departments and outpatient departments of noninstitutional general and short-stay hospitals, exclusive of Federal, military, and Veterans Administration hospitals.

National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS)

The National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS), which has been conducted annually since 1965, is a national probability survey designed to meet the need for information on characteristics of inpatients discharged from non-Federal short-stay hospitals in the United States. The NHDS collects data from a sample of approximately 270,000 inpatient records acquired from a national sample of about 500 hospitals. Only hospitals with an average length of stay of fewer than 30 days for all patients, general hospitals, or children's general hospitals are included in the survey. Federal, military, and Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, as well as hospital units of institutions (such as prison hospitals), and hospitals with fewer than six beds staffed for patient use, are excluded.

National Vital Statistics System (NVSS)

The National Vital Statistics System is the oldest and most successful example of inter-governmental data sharing in Public Health and the shared relationships, standards, and procedures form the mechanism by which NCHS collects and disseminates the Nation's official vital statistics. These data are provided through contracts between NCHS and vital registration systems operated in the various jurisdictions legally responsible for the registration of vital events--births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and fetal deaths. In the United States, legal authority for the registration of these events resides individually with the 50 States, 2 cities (Washington, DC, and New York City), and 5 territories (Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). These jurisdictions are responsible for maintaining registries of vital events and for issuing copies of birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates.


Death data tables present descriptive tabulations of information reported on the death certificates. Attending physicians, coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors complete death certificates. Original records are filed in the State registration offices. The Vital Statistics Cooperative Program of NCHS compiles statistical information into a national database. For a full description of the data and random variation, see the NCHS Mortality Web site.


Birth data tables present descriptive tabulations of information reported on the birth certificates. Standard forms for the collection of the data and model procedures for the uniform registration of the events are developed and recommended for State use through cooperative activities of the States and NCHS. The Vital Statistics Cooperative Program of NCHS compiles statistical information into a national database. For a full description of the data and random variation, see the NCHS Birth Data Web site.

Population estimates

The Population Estimates Program within the US Census Bureau publishes total resident population estimates and demographic components of change (births, deaths, and migration) each year. We also publish the estimates by demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin) for the nation, states and counties. In addition to the resident population universe, we also produce population estimates for these universes: resident plus armed forces overseas, civilian, and civilian non-institutional at the national level; and civilian at the state level. The reference date for estimates is July 1.

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  • Page last reviewed: November 6, 2015
  • Page last updated: June 18, 2015
  • Content source: CDC/National Center for Health Statistics
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