California Health Interview Survey


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  Diverse data

CHIS interviews groups underrepresented in most other health surveys, including: Latinos and Latino ethnic groups, African Americans, American Indian/Alaska Natives (urban and rural sub-samples) and Asians (including large sub-samples for Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and South Asians). CHIS is conducted in English, Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese. CHIS's rich data on numerous racial and ethnic groups has made it a valuable resource to researchers nation-wide.



Who uses CHIS?

Health care reform. Health insurance coverage. Chronic diseases. Health disparities. On a broad range of important health topics, California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data are invaluable tools for policymakers at the local, state and national levels to make informed decisions as well as compelling arguments. Health advocates, media, health care providers, foundations and researchers also depend on this rich source of population-based data for critical health information.

CHIS data has been used to ground dozens of important health initiatives, including:

California Health Care Reform:

ACA estimates: CHIS is one of the data sources for the California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM)​, a micro-simulation model created by the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. To date, CalSIM has helped California’s state and local health officials, Covered California, the state's Health Benefit Exchange, medical providers, community representatives, insurance companies and others to understand the likely enrollment of Californians in an expanded Medi-Cal program and in Covered  California.  CHIS has also helped project how the “individual mandate” might impact coverage as well as who will be left out of new health care reform efforts. 

Amicus brief: Two Center publications that used CHIS data were cited in an amicus brief filed before the U.S. Supreme Court by The California Endowment to support the “individual mandate,” which the court upheld. One publication found that without the mandate, the number of newly insured Californians would be 1.04 million lower in 2019 than with the mandate. Another publication estimated that up to two-thirds of California's uninsured might get health insurance coverage under health care reform.

CHIS has also been instrumental to earlier health care reform efforts, including reform proposals developed by both former California Governor Schwarzenegger's office and Democratic legislators. Advocacy groups on all sides of the issue also relied on CHIS data to inform their positions and craft their arguments.

Los Angeles fast food moratorium:

The Los Angeles Department of City Planning and the City Attorney used CHIS data in a UCLA Center for Health Policy Research publication, Designed for Disease: The Link Between Local Food Environments and Obesity and Diabetes, to help draft a City ordinance prohibiting the establishment of new fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles. Using CHIS data, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research experts testified before both the California Senate Select Committee on Obesity and Diabetes and the Legislative Task Force on Diabetes and Obesity on the extent and causes of obesity and policy options to address the issue.

Increased access to food stamps for poor families:

A policy brief on food insecurity by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Food Policy Advocates prompted then-Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg to introduce AB 231 to increase participation in the federal food stamp program.

First 5 County Commissions:

More than a dozen First 5 county commissions - created by California voters to direct tobacco tax revenues to promote early childhood development - have used CHIS data to develop new public-private expansion programs for children ineligible for private insurance, Medi-Cal or Healthy Families. In most cases, CHIS has been the only data source available. First 5 agencies from Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Joaquin, Marin, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties have relied on CHIS data to advocate for and plan these expansion projects, as has a coalition of commissions from Sacramento, Colusa, El Dorado, Yolo and Yuba counties.

Read more about recent examples of CHIS Making an Impact (PDF).