A half century of health data for the U.S. population: The integrated health interview series

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4 Scopus citations


The U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is the world's longest survey time series of health data and a rich source of information on health conditions, behaviors, and care from the 1960s to the present. NHIS public-use files are difficult to use for long-term analysis, due to complex file structure, changes in questionnaire content, and evolving variable names and coding schemes. Researchers at the Minnesota Population Center have created the Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS) to overcome these problems. IHIS provides access to thousands of consistently coded and well-documented NHIS variables on the Internet and makes it easy to analyze health trends and differentials. IHIS multiplies the value of NHIS data by allowing researchers to make consistent comparisons over half a century and thus to study U.S. health status as a dynamic process. This article describes the main features of IHIS and suggests fruitful avenues for historical research using these invaluable health data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalHistorical Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS, available at http://www.ihis.us) is unlocking this great resource for historical analysis, opening a doorway to new research on health behaviors, health care, and health disparities in the United States across five decades of transformative change. A collaborative project between researchers in the School of Public Health and the Minnesota Population Center (MPC) at the University of Minnesota, with funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD),

Funding Information:
The Integrated Health Interview Series project is supported by a grant to the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, from the National Institutes of Health, 5RO1HD046697.


  • Minnesota Population Center
  • NHIS
  • United States
  • demography
  • health data
  • microdata


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