QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Percentage of Adults Aged 25–64 Years Who Are Very Worried About Their Ability to Pay Medical Bills if They Get Sick or Have an Accident, by Sex and Veteran Status

April 16, 2021


In 2019, among adults aged 25–64 years, veterans (11.5%) were less likely than nonveterans (20.1%) to be very worried about their ability to pay their medical bills if they get sick or have an accident.

This pattern was found for both men and women, with veterans less likely than nonveterans to be very worried about medical bills: 11.4% versus 17.5% for men and 12.5% versus 22.4% for women, respectively.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2019 data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm


Tracking Health Care Access and Mental Health Data During Pandemic

March 16, 2021

NCHS partnered with the Census Bureau on an experimental data system called the Household Pulse Survey to monitor recent changes in monitor trends in mental health, health insurance coverage, and problems accessing care. This 20-minute online survey was designed to complement the ability of the federal statistical system to rapidly respond and provide relevant information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

The data collection period for Phase 1 of the Household Pulse Survey occurred between April 23, 2020 and July 21, 2020. Phase 2 data collection occurred between August 19, 2020 and October 26, 2020.  Phase 3 of the Household Pulse Survey began data collection on October 28, 2020.

Highlights from recent data (February 17-March 1, 2021) in the Household Pulse Survey show:

  • Nearly 2 in 5 adults (38.9%) experienced symptoms associated with anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder in the last 7 days.  This percentage is the lowest since October 2020.
  • One in 9 adults (11.9%) said they needed counseling or therapy for their mental health but did not get it in the last 4 weeks.
  • More than 3 in 10 adults (31.9%) delayed or did not get needed medical care in the last four weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic; This is a significant decrease from February 3-15 (34.2%).

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/health-care-access-and-mental-health.htm

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults in Fair or Poor Health, by Age Group and Race and Ethnicity

March 5, 2021

In 2019, the percentage of adults in fair or poor health increased by age (7.8% for those aged 18–39 years, 17.2% for those 40–64 years, and 25.1% for those ≥65 years) and for each racial/ethnic group shown.

Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adults were most likely to be in fair or poor health in each age group.

Among persons aged 18–39 and 40–64 years, non-Hispanic Asian adults were least likely to be in fair or poor health.

Among persons aged ≥65 years, non-Hispanic Asian and non-Hispanic White adults were least likely to be in fair or poor health.

Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adults aged ≥65 years had the highest percentages of fair or poor health (40.3% and 35.5%, respectively), and non-Hispanic Asian adults aged 18–39 years had the lowest percentage of fair or poor health (4.1%).

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2019 data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm

Health Care Utilization Among U.S. Adults With Inflammatory Bowel Disease, 2015–2016

February 24, 2021

NCHS releases new report that measures health care utilization among adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and compare with adults without IBD.


  • Compared with adults without IBD, adults with IBD were more likely to have visited any doctor or mental health provider in the past 12 months.
  • IBD was also associated with higher prevalence of being prescribed medication, and having received
    acute care services, such as emergency room visits, overnight hospitalizations, or surgeries.
  • Differences by IBD status were greatest for visiting a specialist and home visits in the past 12 months.

Multiple Chronic Conditions Among Veterans and Nonveterans: United States, 2015–2018

February 23, 2021

A new NCHS report describes the prevalence of multiple (two or more) chronic conditions (MCC) among veterans and nonveterans and examines whether differences by veteran status may be explained by differences in sociodemographic composition, smoking behavior, and weight status based on body mass index.

Key Findings:

  • Among adults aged 25 and over, age-adjusted prevalence of MCC was higher among veterans compared with nonveterans for both men and women (22.2% compared with 17.0% for men aged 25–64, 66.9% compared with 61.9% for men aged 65 and over, 25.4% compared with 19.6% among women aged 25–64, and 74.1% compared with 61.8% among women aged 65 and over).
  • Following stratification by age and adjustment for selected sociodemographic characteristics, the prevalence of MCC remained higher among veterans compared with nonveterans for both men and
  • After further adjustment for smoking status and weight status, differences in the prevalence of MCC by veteran status were reduced

PODCAST: Quarterly NHIS Early Release Key Health Indicator Estimates

February 12, 2021


HOST:  This week NCHS released its latest quarterly estimates on a number of key health indicators from the National Health Interview Survey, one of the oldest health surveys in US history dating back to 1957. This latest quarterly release covers the period up to the midpoint of 2020.  Health data from NHIS have always been driven by the types of questions asked in this traditionally in-person survey and in order to improve the quality of data the survey has been redesigned on occasion over the years, most recently in 2019. Tainya Clarke, an epidemiologist with the survey, elaborates:

TAINYA CLARKE:   The NHIS underwent a survey redesign to better meet the needs of data users.  Some questions were dropped from the survey, new questions were added, and some question text or the order they appear changed.  All these changes mean that the NHIS survey for 2019 going forward is quite distinct from the past survey.  In addition to the questionnaire design, changes made to the weighting approach have the potential to impact direct comparisons between the estimates for 2019 to June 2020 and earlier years.  Because of this we have not examined trends prior to 2019 in this release.

HOST:  The last time the NHIS was redesigned was in 1997.  That redesign laid the foundation for the creation of the early release program, which features quarterly preliminary estimates on a number of high profile health topics.  The 2019 redesign introduced several new topics to the survey.  However, the arrival of the pandemic in 2020 forced more changes to the way the survey operates, which in turn has had an impact on response rates:

TAINYA CLARKE:    Due to the current pandemic and the need for physical distancing, in quarter two we switched to a telephone-only approach, and in quarter three and four a telephone-first approach and followed up in person for households with no response or without a listed telephone contact.   We may have some new questions on COVID-19 and related health behaviors added in the future early releases.  So we’re not quite sure what those questions will be – only time will tell.

HOST:  In recent years this release has switched from a publication-based format to an interactive web-based data visualization format.  But there remains a gold mine of important data topics in this quarterly release.  For example, hypertension among adults is now being tracked, which is important particularly now during the pandemic with high blood pressure being a major risk factor for people with COVID-19.

TAINYA CLARKE:   The early release data in 2019 and the first half of 2020 showed that about 1/4 of US adults have been diagnosed with hypertension in the past 12 months, and the prevalence is highest among non-Hispanic Blacks, with more than one in three having hypertension in the past 12 months.

HOST:  The NHIS has tracked cigarette smoking among adults since the 1960s, and has documented along running decline in the percentage of adults who smoke.  Cigarette smoking is also one of the topics featured in this week’s new quarterly release showing that an all-time low of 12.2% of American adults were current cigarette smokers in Quarter Two of 2020.  And recently, the NHIS has added E-cigarette use to this quarterly release.

TAINYA CLARKE:   In 2019 we had approximately 4.4% of adults using E-cigarettes.  The percentage is even lower in January to June 2020 at 3.6%.

HOST:  Some of these second quarter estimates from 2020 may indeed reflect the impact of the pandemic on the country.  However, many of the survey questions are based on the past 12 months, so any direct connection to the pandemic is inconclusive.  This includes the second quarter 2020 finding that a higher percentage of adults are seeking mental health counseling, as well as the fact that a lower percentage of adults visited the emergency Department during this period. Another important measure featured in this quarterly release is flu vaccination.  Nearly half of adults reported they received a flu vaccine, according to data from the second quarter of 2020.  But Tainya Clarke says some context is needed when interpreting those immunization numbers.

TAINYA CLARKE:   I think I want to point out that even though this is almost 50% – and to some people that may seem like a large percentage – the target for vaccinating adults against influenza is much higher.  It’s closer to 70% for HP 2020 – that’s a Healthy People 2020 initiative.  And although that initiative is targeted at seasonal flu, we really hope to see a larger percentage of the U.S. adult population receiving more flu vaccines going forward.

HOST:  The latest quarterly release of data from the NHIS also includes new data on health insurance coverage in America.  During the first half of 2020, over 30 million Americans – or 9.4% – were uninsured at the time they were interviewed as part of the survey.  This proportion of the population who had no insurance includes over 13% of those ages 18 to 64.  In this age group, a little more than one in five had public health insurance and a little more than 2/3 had private insurance.  The poor or near poor in this age group were more likely to be uninsured than those who are not poor. Hispanic adults in this 18 to 64 age group were twice as likely to be uninsured as non-Hispanic black adults and nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic white or non-Hispanic Asian adults.  Among children under age 18, less than 5% were uninsured, and among those who did have insurance over 41% had public coverage and over 56% had private coverage.

HOST:  Our thanks to Tainya Clarke of the National Health Interview Survey for joining us on this edition of “Statcast.”  Join us next week for a special segment on data related to the pandemic’s impact on life expectancy.

National Health Interview Survey Early Release Updates

February 11, 2021

The Early Release Program of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) publishes selected health estimates from an expedited schedule.

New Interactive quarterly and biannual early release estimates provide health statistics based on data from the 2019-June 2020 NHIS for selected health topics for adults aged 18 years and over.

New report on health insurance coverage provide detailed estimates from the 2019-June 2020 NHIS.  There are also health insurance quarterly web table estimates available for April–December 2019 and January–March 2020.

Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, looks at household telephone status from January through June 2020.  This includes updated estimates of the size of the wireless-only and wireless-mostly population.

Urgent Care Center and Retail Health Clinic Utilization Among Children: United States, 2019

December 3, 2020

Questions for Lindsey Black, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Urgent Care Center and Retail Health Clinic Utilization Among Children: United States, 2019.”

Q: Why did you decide to research urgent care center and retail health clinic utilization among children? 

LB: This is a growing segment of health care delivery system where many American’s seek both preventative and acute care. In addition, 2019 was the first time that utilization of urgent care was assessed among respondents of the National Health Interview Survey.

Q: Was there a specific finding in the data that surprised you from this report?

LB: I was surprised there was not a linear relationship between age and utilization. Often, we see as age increases, service utilization decreases, and other work specific to urgent care utilization has found that adolescents and young adults are more likely to utilize urgent care and retail-based clinic care compared to children.

Q: Can you explain what retail health clinic utilization is?

LB: Urgent care and retail health clinics are facilities that provide health care services to patients and you do not need to make an appointment ahead of time. They can be free standing, or within a grocery store or retail store setting. Services provided often range from routine vaccination to non-emergency acute care.

Q: Is there any trend data for this report?

LB: No. This is the only year of data available that includes urgent care and retail health clinic utilization measures.

Q: What is the take home message for this report?

LB: More than 1 in 4 U.S. children (26.4%) have had one or more visits to an urgent care center or retail health clinic in past year according to 2019 data from the National Health Interview Survey.

Chronic Pain and High-impact Chronic Pain Among U.S. Adults, 2019

November 4, 2020

Chronic pain and chronic pain that frequently limits life or work activities, referred to in this report as high-impact chronic pain, are among the most common reasons adults seek medical care and are associated with decreased quality of life, opioid dependence, and poor mental health. This report examines chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain in the past 3 months among U.S. adults aged 18 and over by selected demographic characteristics and urbanization level.

Key Findings:

  • In 2019, 20.4% of adults had chronic pain and 7.4% of adults had chronic pain that frequently limited life or work activities (referred to as high impact chronic pain) in the past 3 months.
  • Chronic pain and highimpact chronic pain both increased with age and were highest among adults aged 65 and over.
  • Non-Hispanic white adults (23.6%) were more likely to have chronic pain compared with non-Hispanic black (19.3%), Hispanic (13.0%), and non-Hispanic Asian (6.8%) adults.
  • The percentage of adults with chronic pain and highimpact chronic pain increased as place of residence became more rural.

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 18 Years or Older Who Had an Unmet Mental Health Care Need Because of Cost in the Past 12 Months by Age Group and Sex

October 30, 2020

In 2019, 5.3% of adults aged 18 years or older had an unmet mental health care need because of cost in the past 12 months.

Women (7.2%) were more likely than men (3.3%) to have an unmet mental health care need because of cost, regardless of age group.

The percentage of men with an unmet mental health care need decreased with age, from 5.1% among those aged 18–44 years to 0.8% among those aged 65 years or older.

Similarly, the percentage among women decreased with age, from 10.3% among those aged 18–44 years to 2.1% among those aged 65 years or older.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm.