Codes and Frequencies
RACEID reports the interviewer-identified race of all persons for 1968-1979.
There are several other variables dealing with race and ethnicity. The variable RACEA is designed to facilitate comparison across the maximum number of survey years. RACESR (1978 forward) provides information on self-reported, main racial background, using the pre-1997 Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting. RACENEW (1999 forward) provides information on self-reported, main racial background of all persons, using the October 30, 1997 revision of Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting. RACEBR (1999 forward) is a bridge race variable linking up racial categories using pre-1997 revised Office of Management and Budget standards with racial categories for 1999 forward, using post-1997 Office of Management and Budget standards.
More information about race and Hispanic ethnicity variables appearing in the NHIS can be found on the National Center for Health Statistic's Race and Hispanic Origin Information home page.
From 1968 until 1977, interviewers were instructed to use only the categories of "White," "Black" ("Negro" for 1968--1975), and "Other."
The Field Representative's Manual for 1968--1975 states that "White" includes Latin-Americans, unless they are definitely Black/Negro, Indian, or nonwhite. The "Other" category includes Japanese, Chinese, American Indian, Korean, Eskimo, and Hindu. Interviewers were instructed to "assume the race of all related persons is the same as that of the respondent," unless there was specific information to the contrary.
Starting in 1970, interviewers were permitted to ask, "What is [person's] race?" in those cases where the interviewer's observation alone was not sufficient to determine the race.
In 1978 and 1979, interviewers could use additional categories in assigning race. In 1978, the additional categories included "Alaskan Native or American Indian" and "Asian or Pacific Islander." In 1979, the additional categories included "Aleut, Eskimo, American Indian" and "Asian or Pacific Islander."
In 1968, in cases in which the interviewer judged a person to have "mixed parentage," the instructions were to report the race of the nonwhite parent when the mixture was white and nonwhite. In the case of mixtures of nonwhite races, unless the "non-Negro race predominates" and the "person is regarded in the community as of the other nonwhite race," the interviewer was instructed to report the race of the person as "Negro." Beginning in 1970, the Field Representative's Manual instructed interviewers to report the race of the person's father for people uncertain how to respond.
Both 1978 and 1979 included a category for multiple races where the main racial background could not be determined by the interviewer, and unknown. In contrast with 1970--1978, where interviewers were instructed to "code the race of the father for persons of racial mixtures," the 1979 Field Representative's Manual instructed interviewers to code "the race of the mother for persons of racial mixtures." For 1975-1979, interviewers were instructed to code "the race of the child if different from the adopting parents."
- 1963-1979: All persons 17+ (Race of persons under age 17 imputed by interviewer).
- 1963-1979 : PERWEIGHT