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California Health Interview Survey releases newest data on state residents' health

The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey and a primary source of information on California's diverse population, released its latest data today on more than 100 topics affecting the health and well-being of the state's residents.

The randomdigit-dial telephone survey, conducted every two years by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, gathers essential information from tens of thousands of California households on a wide variety of topics, from health insurance and public program participation to diabetes, obesity and cancer screening.

The latest survey also includes new questions on suicide, emergency preparedness, medical homes, veteran status, registered domestic partner status, flu shots and pre-diabetes.

The data can be examined by state, region and county at, the survey's free, easy-to-use online data search tool. (A quick tutorial on how to use the search tool is also available.)

Yesterday, Feb. 15, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released a related policy brief based on the new CHIS data showing that while 7 million Californians are currently uninsured, up to two-thirds of them some 4.7 million residents will likely become eligible for insurance coverage under the new health care reform law.

The CHIS data, collected in 2009 in the midst of the severe economic downturn, may also help provide a snapshot of California under duress. The various cycles of the survey previous cycles were conducted for 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 may also give policymakers, researchers, health experts and organizations, and the media a baseline from which to work as health care reform is implemented in 2014.

"CHIS, always an important tool, may now become essential as Californians work together to bring up to 4.7 million of our uninsured citizens under the umbrella of health care coverage," said CHIS director David Grant.

Survey respondents include adults, teenagers and children from a broad range of ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels. As such, CHIS represents the most reliable source of data on the health of Californians, as well as on many little-studied ethnic groups.

Facts about the latest survey:

Big survey:

The 2009 survey is one of the largest CHIS surveys ever, with 49,811 households participating, including 47,614 adults and 12,324 teens and children.


CHIS has data on groups that are underrepresented in almost all other health surveys, including Latinos and Latino ethnic groups (including Mexicans and Puerto Ricans); African Americans; American Indians/Alaska Natives (both urban and rural); and Asians (Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese and South Asians). CHIS is conducted in English, Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Korean and Vietnamese.

Expanded cell-phone sample:

With more and more Californians using mobile devices, CHIS has expanded its cell phone sample to include not only children and teens, but people who mainly or only use mobile phones important factors in ensuring representative data.

Sexual minorities:

CHIS is one of the few surveys to collect information on lesbian, gay and bisexual Californians, providing a rich source of data on an underrepresented group.


Contact: Nancy Brands Ward
University of California - Los Angeles

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