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Health Data

Health laws and policies over time by state

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Subnational USA health data

Keep in mind most health surveys are relatively small and contain no geographic markers.  Some major datasets with subnational geography include:

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (1984+) (BRFSS).  Established in 1984 with 15 states, BRFSS now collects data in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories. BRFSS completes more than 400,000 adult interviews each year, making it the largest continuously conducted health survey system in the world. Tracks health risks in the United States. Monitors state-level prevalence of the major behavioral risks among adults associated with premature morbidity and mortality. Collects data on actual behaviors, rather than on attitudes or knowledge. 
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System 1991+ (YRBS). Monitors health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include tobacco use, unhealthy dietary behaviors, inadequate physical activity, alcohol and other drug use. Sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection. Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. Dataset is national.  Not all states participated.   Individual state data is potentially available through restricted contracts.
  • Annual Survey of Hospitals. Survey of for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals on utilization and cost related matters is produced by the American Hospital Association. Documentation is available at (DSS)RA981.A2.A32. Data access: 1975-2022. Princeton also has the AHA Annual Survey IT Database for 2007-2020, 2022 (covers data for 2008-2020, 2022; Note 2021 was not conducted due to Covid), the AHA Survey of Care Systems and Payment for 2013, 2015, 2016 and the AHA System Survey (2016).  The 2020 survey added questions regarding Covid-19 on bed changes; isolation rooms, temporary spaces, ventilators, and emergency departments as related to Covid. Also new to 2020 are data on telehealth visits; remote patient monitoring (RPM); behavioral health; radiology; substance use disorder; and community and social health programs and strategies.
  • Area Resource File (ARF) (1979, 1998-2000, 2005, 2008, 2012-2023).Contains more than 6,000 variables for each of the nation's counties and states on health facilities, health professions, measures of resource scarcity, health status, economic activity, health training programs, and socioeconomic and environmental characteristics.  ICPSR contains 1940-1990.  
  • Some health surveys may only cover a specific city or state.

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