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Was in a hospital overnight in past 12 months

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For sample adults and sample children ages 1-17, HOSPNGHT identifies persons who were patients in a hospital overnight during the past 12 months. Prior to 2019, HOSPNGHT was asked of all persons. Respondents were prompted to not include overnight stays in the emergency room. The 2019 Field Representative's Manual instructs that a hospitalization for a childbirth should be recorded as one stay for the mother and one for the baby.


The survey question used to create this variable changed between 2005 and 2006, though the underlying meaning remains the same. Beginning in 2006, respondents were asked if a person was "hospitalized OVERNIGHT" in the past 12 months and instructed to exclude overnight stays in the emergency room. In 1997-2005, respondents were asked about being "a patient in a hospital OVERNIGHT".

The Field Representative's Manual provided additional guidance via the definitions of "hospital stay (hospitalization)" and "hospital patient." These sections of the text reiterated the exclusion of overnight stays in an emergency room or outpatient clinic, unless the person was admitted to the hospital and stayed overnight, even if surgery was performed. Stays for nonmedical reasons, such as staying with a sick family member, were also excluded. Interviewers were instructed not to count any nights spent in the hospital during the interview week.

The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1997-2018: All persons.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults and sample children ages 1-17.


  • 1997-2022