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Duration of functionally limiting birth defect: Number of units

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For Sample Adults age 18+ who, without using special equipment, had any difficulty with one or more functional activities (FLANY), and for whom a birth defect was reported as a condition causing a functional activity limitation (FLBIRTH), FLBIRTHNO reports the number of time units the respondent stated when reporting the duration of the birth defect.

Data on the duration of the limiting birth defect were collected via the question, "How long have you had [a birth defect]?" Respondents could answer this open-ended question using the time unit of their choice (i.e., days, weeks, months, years, or since birth). The original responses to the question are reported in two complementary variables, FLBIRTHTP (which specifies the time unit) and FLBIRTHNO (which reports the number of such units). As noted in the Codebooks for 1997 forward, "years are topcoded at 85." For the NHIS public use files, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recoded the results from these two variables to create two other variables using standard time units: years (FLBIRTHY) and groups of months (FLBIRTHMO).


The variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Sample adults age 18+ who have difficulty with activities due to birth defect.


  • 1997-2018