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Age first diagnosed with diabetes

Codes and Frequencies

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DIABETICAGE reports age at first diagnosis by a doctor of "diabetes or sugar diabetes," for sample adults who were ever told by a doctor or other health professional that they had diabetes (other than during pregnancy alone) (DIABETICEV). Persons who reported their diagnosis as "borderline" diabetes were not asked this follow-up question. The Field Representative's Manual for 1997-2000 directed interviewers to probe for a specific age but to "record a best estimate if that is what the sample adult gives you."

The 2006 Codebook for the NHIS public use data files contains the following warning about inaccuracies in this variable:

These data have not been edited for reasonableness. Some respondents appear to give information on how long ago the condition was first diagnosed rather than their age when the condition was first diagnosed.

Other diabetes-related questions were periodically included in the survey; see DIABETICEV for a summary of these variables currently in the IPUMS NHIS.


This variable is almost completely comparable over time. The top-coded age is 83 in 1999 and is 85 in all other years.


  • 1976: Persons who were diabetic or had a prediabetic condition.
  • 1989: Persons age 18+ who have ever been told by a doctor they had diabetes.
  • 1991: Sample persons age 18+ who were ever told by a doctor that they had diabetes (other than during pregnancy).
  • 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+ who were ever told by a doctor that they had diabetes (other than during pregnancy).


  • 1976, 1989, 1991, 1997-2018