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More Information about the Survey

National Health Interview Survey

The NHIS is a cross-sectional in-person household survey conducted continuously since 1957 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data are collected on the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States, and thus exclude persons in long-term care facilities (e.g., nursing homes) or correctional facilities, active-duty Armed Forces personnel (although civilian family members are included), and U.S. nationals living in foreign countries. The survey uses a multi-stage clustered sample design, with oversampling of black, Hispanic, and Asian persons, and produces nationally representative data on health insurance coverage, health care access and utilization, health status, health behaviors, and other health-related topics.

The NHIS questionnaire consists of a core set of questions that remain relatively unchanged from year to year, and supplemental questions that vary from year to year to collect additional data pertaining to current health issues of national importance. The core survey instrument has four main modules: Household, Family, Sample Child, and Sample Adult. The first two modules collect health and sociodemographic information on each member of each family residing within a sampled household. Within each family, additional information is collected from one randomly selected adult (the “sample adult”) aged 18 years or older and (if applicable) one randomly selected child (the “sample child”) aged 17 years or younger. In rare instances when a sample adult is physically or mentally unable to respond, proxy responses are accepted (< 1.5% of sample).

Learn more about the questionnaires, data, and survey methods at /nchs/nhis.htm.

Worker Health Data from the Core Annual Survey

The annual NHIS core Sample Adult and Family Questionnaires include questions about the respondent’s employment status and several other factors related to his or her current job (or longest-held job in the case of retired workers), such as industry (type of business) and occupation (type of job) (I&O). Data can be used to study general trends in worker health.

NIOSH partnered with the University of Miami to assess worker health using the NHIS core data. Together, they produced a series of reports that describe the prevalence of morbidity and disability among current workers within the eight original National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) sectors:

NIOSH researchers and NIOSH-supported external researchers also published many articles about worker health using the NHIS data, which are available to search in NIOSHTIC. NHIS data were also use for portions of the Work-Related Lung Disease (WoRLD) Surveillance Report, 2007.

Occupational Health Supplements

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sponsored an occupational health supplement (OHS) to the 2010 NHIS. The supplement collected more in-depth information on the prevalence and correlates of work-related health conditions and exposures to potential psychological and physical occupational hazards in the U.S. working population. The OHS questions were embedded within the Sample Adult questionnaire. The 2010 NHIS sample included 17,524 sample adults who had worked at least part of the 12 months preceding their interviews; most of the OHS questions focused on these respondents.

The last NHIS-OHS was conducted in 1988. The 2010 NHIS-OHS includes similar questions to the 1988 supplement about dermatitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and occupational asthma and questions on other topics (e.g., psychosocial exposures) have been adapted from other validated survey instruments, where possible. Data from the OHS can be combined with data from the core NHIS questionnaire for analysis of relationships between occupational exposures and other common health conditions and interactions between occupational and non-occupational factors (e.g., tobacco use, physical activity). The OHS questions are embedded within the Sample Adult questionnaire.

NIOSH sponsored a new NHIS-OHS in 2015. Estimates based on these new data will be added to this site once they are available.

Summary of the content of the 2010 NHIS-OHS

Charts Showing 2010 NHIS-OHS Data by Industry

Ethics Board Approval and Consent

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is approved by the Research Ethics Review Board of the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Written consent for participation in the NHIS is not received, but instead all NHIS respondents provided oral consent prior to participation.

Charts Showing Data by Industry

The sets of charts linked below present the 2010 NHIS-OHS data by broad industry category to provide industry leaders with an overview of the prevalence of common workplace exposures and commonly work-related health conditions among their workforce. Results are categorized by specific industry group and/or job type within each broad industry category.

The information in these charts can be used to help:

  • Workplace safety and health program administrators prioritize what issues they should address within their industry.
  • Occupational health researchers prioritize and focus their research to address current issues within an industry
  • Everyone better understand emerging health issues within an industry.
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