Health Data Sources

health data sources

This page provides data sources on health-related topics for researchers to use for their investigation. The health data sources will be regularly updated.  

The United States Health Data

County Health Rankings

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income, and teen births in nearly every county in America.  

Access the Data:

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an ongoing data collection system designed to state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Established in 1984 with 15 states, the system now collects data in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories.

Access the Data:
Annual BRFSS Survey data:
BRFSS City and County Data:

Young Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors six categories of priority health-risk behaviors, plus obesity and asthma, among adolescents at the national, state, territorial, tribal, and local levels. YRBSS also measures the prevalence of obesity and asthma and other priority health-related behaviors plus sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts.

Access the Data:
National data can be downloaded from
State, district, territory, or tribal government data files need to be requested

Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)

Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project is the Nation’s most comprehensive source of hospital care data, including information on in-patient stays, ambulatory surgery and services visits, and emergency department encounters. Researchers, insurers, policymakers, and others can use the data to examine health care delivery and patient outcomes over time, and at the national, regional, State, and community levels.

Access the Data: HCUP data need to be purchased Users must complete the HCUP Data Use Agreement (DUA) Training Course and sign an HCUP DUA before receipt of the data

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)

The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which began in 1996, is a set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers, and employers across the U.S. The survey collects data on the specific health services that Americans use, how frequently they use them, the cost of these services, and how they are paid for, as well as data on the cost, scope, and breadth of health insurance held by and available to U.S. workers.  There are two key components: Household Component and Insurance Component.

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The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Ends Results Program of the National Cancer Institute provides collects cancer incidence and survival data from population-based cancer registries from 14 population-based cancer registries and 3 supplemental registries covering approximately 28% of the population of the United States.

Access the Data: A signed Research Data Agreement is required to have access to the SEER data

United States Cancer Statistics Data

The official federal statistics on cancer incidence from registries that have high-quality data and cancer mortality statistics for each year and 2009–2013 combined. It is produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The data sources include National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR), National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) Mortality Data and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.

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Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS)

Health Information National Trends Survey collects nationally representative data routinely about the American public’s use of cancer-related information. The data have been used understand how adults use different communication channels, including the Internet, to obtain vital health information for themselves and their loved ones. The survey was developed by the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch (HCIRB) of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS).

Access the Data: Review and accept HINTS data terms of use. (click Data/Instruments tab, then select “download data”)

National Vital Statistics System (NVSS)

National Vital Statistics System is an inter-governmental system that shares data on Births, deaths, fetal deaths, linked birth/infant death, and matched multiple births. The data are collected from birth and death records (including fetal deaths).

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National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations.

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National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 

Since 1957, National Health Interview Survey have collected data through personal household interviews on health status, healthcare access, and health behaviors. For over 50 years, the U.S. Census Bureau has been the data collection agent for the National Health Interview Survey.

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The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a major source of statistical information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco and on mental health issues among members of the U.S. civilian, non-institutional population aged 12 or older.

Access the Data:
(choose “The National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Then select a year’s survey. When the page open, choose the survey # under “Datasets in this Study.”  When a new page opens, scroll down to find “Datasets Downloads.”

Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS)

Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA) is a continuous, in-person, longitudinal survey of a representative national sample of the Medicare population, covering the population of beneficiaries in the US, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It aims to understand expenditures and sources of payment for all services used by Medicare beneficiaries. 

Access the Data:
A public use file (PUF) and accompanying documentation are available free for download under the MCBS PUF link
Two detailed data releases from the MCBS that are released in annual Access to Care and Cost and Use files, which can be purchased directly from CMS and require a data use agreement.

Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (MHOS)

The Medicare HOS is the first patient-reported outcomes measure used in Medicare managed care. Each spring a random sample of Medicare beneficiaries is drawn and surveyed from each participating Medicare Advantage Organization (MAO) that has a minimum of 500 enrollees. Two years later, the baseline respondents are surveyed again (i.e., follow-up measurement). Main measures include the Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12); information for case-mix and risk-adjustment; results for four HEDIS® Effectiveness of Care measures, and demographic information.

Access the Data:
HOS HOS Limited Data Set (LDS) and Research Identifiable File (RIF), comprised of the entire national sample for a given cohort (including both respondents and non-respondents) and contain all of the HOS survey items, need to be requested

Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

The University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a longitudinal panel study that surveys a representative sample of approximately 20,000 people in America. For more than 20 years, HRS has been a leading source for information on the health and economic circumstances of adults over age 50 in the United States.

Access the Data: Registration is required to have access to the survey data.

Profile of State Public Health

Profile of State Public Health (Profile), conducted by Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, is the only comprehensive source of information about state public health agency activities, structure, and resources. First published in 2007, the profile data have been an essential guide to understanding the current activities of state health agencies and new developments on issues such as governance, quality improvement and accreditation, workforce, finance, and health information technology.

Access the Data: Data need to be requested (scroll down to find “Using ASTHO’s Survey Data”)

National Profile of Local Health Departments

National Profile of Local Health Department (Profile), conducted by National Association of County & City Health Officials, is designed to provide a comprehensive and accurate description of local health departments (LHDs) infrastructure and practice. The main measures include leadership, funding, workforce, activities and programs, partnership, policy and advocacy, etc. NACCHO conducted the first National Profile of Local Health Departments (Profile) study from 1989 to 1990. Since then, NACCHO has conducted an additional seven Profile studies, including in 2016.

Access the data: Data need to be requested

Public Health Workforce and Needs Survey (PH WINS)

The Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS), conducted by Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, is the first nationally representative survey of individual state health agency workers. More than 10,000 public health workers from 37 state health agencies participated. The survey assesses knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the public health workforce.

Access the data: Data need to be requested

Global Health Data

The Human Mortality Database

The database provides detailed mortality and population data on mortality. At present, the database contains detailed population and mortality data for the following 38 countries or areas.  It is an effort led by researchers from Department of Demography at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, with support from their collaborators around the world.

Access the Data: Registration required before gaining full access to the database.

Demographic and Health Surveys Program

Demographic and Health Surveys Program collects, analyzes, and disseminates accurate and representative data on population, health, HIV, and nutrition through more than 300 surveys in over 90 countries. Major surveys include Demographic and Health Surveys, The AIDS Indicator Survey (AIS), The Service Provision Assessment (SPA) survey, The Malaria Indicator Survey, The Key Indicators Survey, etc.

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China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)

The China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) is an ongoing open cohort, international collaborative project between the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National Institute for Nutrition and Health (NINH, former National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety) at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC).  The survey is intended to examine the effects of the health, nutrition, and family planning policies and programs implemented by national and local governments and study how social and economic transformation of Chinese society is affecting the health and nutritional status of its population.

Access the Data: Registration is required to download the survey data.

Global Health Data Repository

This website is WHO’s gateway to health-related statistics for more than 1000 indicators for its 194 Member States. Data are organized to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including health status indicators to monitor progress towards for the overall health goal, indicators to track equity in health indicators, and the indicators for the specific health and health-related targets of the SDGs.

Health, Nutrition, and Population Statistics

Word bank develops regional, country and topic dashboards displaying tables and graphs with the latest data and trends on health, nutrition, and population. The dashboards use tables, graphs, pyramids, and maps with the latest data and trends on population, fertility, and mortality.