This guide provides a starting point for researchers using health-related numeric data. It includes information on Harvard electronic and print resources and other web-based resources.

Web Based Data Resources

National Center for Health Statistics
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is the nation’s principal health statistics agency. Data are collected from birth and death records, medical records, interviews, direct physical exams and laboratory testing. The site contains a link to FastStats which allows the user to search for health statistics by topic. The site provides both summary-level and micro-level data. Data from the following studies and surveys is available on the NCHS website:

  • Health, United States
  • Longitudinal Studies of Aging (LSOA)
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
  • National Health Care Survey
  • National Vital Statistics System
  • National Immunization Survey
  • National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
  • National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
  • National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery
  • National Hospital Discharge Survey
  • National Nursing Home Survey
  • National Home and Hospice Care Survey
  • National Survey of Family Growth
  • State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey

Centers for Disease Control
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the federal agency that is responsible for developing and applying disease prevention and control, and preparing health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States. Links to data and information on the following surveys and studies available on the CDC website include:

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System
  • Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance
  • WISQARS- (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System)

CDC Wonder
Wonder online databases utilize a rich ad-hoc query system for the analysis of public health data. Reports and other query systems are also available. Topics include chronic diseases, communicable diseases, environmental health, health practice and prevention, injury prevention, and occupational health.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) publishes evidence-based information on health care outcomes; quality; and cost, use, and access. Data available on this site include:

  • Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
  • Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)
  • State Snapshots

Area Health Resources Files
AHRF include data on Health Care Professions, Health Facilities, Population Characteristics, Economics, Health Professions Training, Hospital Utilization, Hospital Expenditures, and Environment at the county, state and national levels, from over 50 data sources.

Health Resources and Services Administration
HRSA programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable. Explore data and maps on HRSA's health care programs.

Incidence and Prevalence Database (Harvard E-resource)
Provides epidemiological and market research data related to healthcare products and services. Covers over 4,500 diagnoses and procedures, providing data on epidemiology (incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality), census results, cost analysis, and concomitant diseases.

IPUMS Health Surveys
The IPUMS Health Surveys provide free individual-level survey data for research purposes from two leading sources of self-reported health and health care access information: the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).  Harmonized data from these surveys is available from this site.

Kaiser Family Foundation
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) is a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. The site provides both a “search” and a “browse by topic” option.  There is also a link for State Health Facts.

Medicare/Medicaid Program Statistics
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Program Statistics includes detailed summary statistics on Medicare populations, utilization, and expenditures, as well as counts for Medicare-certified institutional and non-institutional providers. It is organized into sections which can be downloaded and viewed separately.

Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program
SEER is a program of the National Cancer Institute. Statistics available from this site include tables, graphs and maps of cancer incidence, mortality, prevalence, and the probability of developing or dying from cancer.