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Table 1. Overview of Federal Government-Sponsored Population Surveys

Survey Name Sponsor Years* Major Survey Design Features Areas Represented
Current Population Survey—March Supplement (CPS) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau
  • Conducted annually each March
  • Personal and telephone interviews with about 60,000 households nationally (50,000 before July, 2001)
  • Represents the U.S. non-institutionalized civilian population
U.S., individual States, large cities, metropolitan areas, and counties
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component (MEPS-HC) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Conducted in 5 rounds of interviews over 2.5 years
  • 15,000 families and about 37,000 individuals nationally
  • Permits tracking of families and individuals over time
  • Represents U.S. non-institutionalized civilian population, and includes an annual supplemental samples of racial/ethnic minorities and periodically of other groups
U.S. and regions
National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1990-present; redesigned in 1995
  • Continuing national survey utilizing a stratified multi-stage sample design
  • 36,000 to 47,000 households per year, including approximately 106,000 individuals
  • Represents U.S. non-institutionalized civilian population, and includes supplemental samples of minority groups
U.S. and regions
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Conducted continuously
  • Managed by individual States and pooled nationally
  • About 12,000 monthly telephone interviews; or about 150,000 interviews nationally each year.
  • Allows examination of monthly trends
  • Represents U.S. non-institutionalized population in households with telephones
U.S., individual States and sub-State areas in some States

* Since 1990.

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