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Ever told had a stroke

Codes and Frequencies

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STROKEV identifies adults whom a doctor or other health professional ever diagnosed as having had a stroke. In 2002 and 2007, persons who had ever been diagnosed with a stroke were asked whether they had a stroke during the past 12 months (STROKEYR). Please see Comparability and Universe tabs for complete information on universe changes between samples.

The Field Representative's Manual for 1997-2000 directed interviewers to "include strokes, cerebrovascular accidents, and brain hemorrhages," but this directive was not stated during the interview. Stroke was defined in the Field Representative's Manual for 2001 forward as "a cerebral hemorrhage or embolism of the cerebral blood vessels," but this definition was not routinely shared with respondents.

Related Variables 

Information on whether persons age 20 and older ever had a stroke is also available in 1977 (STROKEWOC). The information included in STROKEWOC was collected via two separate lines of questioning. Interviewers asked, "Has [name] ever had a stroke?" and "Has a doctor ever told [name] he had a stroke?" In addition, the person was recorded as having had a stroke and asked about a doctor's diagnosis of the condition if "stroke" was reported as the reason why an individual was limited in daily activities (i.e., "needs the help of another person in getting around," "stays in bed all or most of the day," "needs help in bathing/dressing/eating/using the toilet").

Only cases coded as "2" (Yes, medically confirmed) in STROKEWOC are roughly comparable to cases with an affirmative response in STROKEV. Along with the notable difference in question wording for the two variables, there is a difference in the range of responses that were accepted. In the 1977 inquiry, interviewers were directed to reask the question if a term other than "stroke" (such as "brain hemorrhage") was reported, and to consider as a "No" response any term other than "stroke." By contrast, as noted above, for STROKEV, other terms such as "cerebral hemorrhage" and "cerebrovascular accident" were accepted as "Yes" responses.


Changes in the universe and the introduction of a major redesign in 2019 affect comparability. In 1974, this question was asked of sample persons aged 17 and older; in 1976 it was asked of all persons; and in 1989 this variable was only asked of adults who had confirmed diabetes. In all other years, it was asked of sample adults aged 18 and older.

Questionnaire design changes introduced in 2019 limit comparability with earlier years. 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.


  • 1974: Sample persons age 17+.
  • 1976: All persons.
  • 1983; 1985; 1990: Sample persons age 18+.
  • 1989: Persons age 18+ with confirmed diabetes.
  • 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1974, 1976, 1983, 1985, 1989-1990, 1997-2022