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Health Data & Statistics: A Guide

Introduction to Research Datasets

This section of the guide provides information about finding numeric data sets for secondary research analysis.  Data set files are usually downloaded and manipulated using statistical software such as SPSS or SAS.

Data Archives for Health

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research

"The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), established in 1962, is an integral part of the infrastructure of social science research. ICPSR maintains and provides access to a vast archive of social science data for research and instruction."  Data downloads require registration with an MSU email address.

 Special collections relevant to health research within ICPSR include:

Center for Population Research in LGBT Health
"Research shows that sexual and gender minority groups experience health disparities as a result of multiple socio-cultural factors. The Center offers data and resources to health researchers to fill critical knowledge gaps related to the health of sexual and gender minorities, strengthening the foundation for culturally competent treatment and behavior change models."


Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys
Data on mental disorders among the general population with a special emphasis on minority groups.  Joins together three national surveys: the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), the National Survey of American Life (NSAL), and the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS). CPES permits the investigation of cultural and ethnic influences on mental health.

Health and Medical Care Archive
“HMCA is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health care philanthropy organization in the United States. HMCA is the official data archive of the Foundation, and is devoted to preserving and making available research data that have significant secondary-analytic value for expanding knowledge on, and ultimately contributing to, improvement of the health of people in the United States.”

Integrated Fertility Survey Series
“The goal of IFSS is to provide researchers, educators, students, policy makers, and others with a data resource to examine issues related to families and fertility in the United States spanning five decades. IFSS provides access to ten individual national studies of fertility encompassing the Growth of American Families (GAF), National Fertility Surveys (NFS), and National Surveys of Family Growth (NSFG) as well as a single dataset composed of harmonized variables across all ten surveys. Analytic tools make it possible to quickly and easily explore the data and obtain information about changes in behaviors and attitudes across time.”

Minority Data Research Center
“MDRC is a membership-funded archive whose purpose is to provide data resources for the comparative analysis of issues affecting racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States. We offer streamlined access to existing ICPSR data and to newly acquired studies that are relevant to the study of immigration, place of origin, ancestry, ethnicity, and race in the United States.”

National Addiction & HIV Data Archive
"NAHDAP acquires, preserves and disseminates data relevant to drug addiction and HIV research."

National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging
“NACDA is funded by the National Institute on Aging. NACDA's mission is to advance research on aging by helping researchers to profit from the under-exploited potential of a broad range of datasets. NACDA acquires and preserves data relevant to gerontological research, processing as needed to promote effective research use, disseminates them to researchers, and facilitates their use."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive

SAMHSA has prioritized data, outcomes and quality - realizing an integrated data strategy and a national framework for quality improvement in behavioral health care will inform policy, measure program impact, and lead to improved quality of services and outcomes of individuals, families, and communities. Data helps SAMHSA and the nation assess the impact of the changes to US health care systems and identify and address behavioral health disparities.



Many thanks to Abe Wheeler at Michigan State University, whose LibGuide on Health Data and Statistics provided much of the information on research datasets, vital statistics, and health behaviors & risks.