Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions - Health of Houston Survey 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Health of Houston Survey?

The Health of Houston Survey is a population survey of randomly chosen adults in the Houston area, collecting data on health, lifestyle, socioeconomic and neighborhood factors that contribute to the leading causes of death and chronic disease. The survey provides an accurate picture of the health of adults and children and documents health needs. It also provides local organizations, elected officials and health care leaders with timely and useful information for planning and guiding initiatives to improve the health of the community.

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What type of information is collected?

Information is collected on a wide range of health topics including health insurance, access to health care, chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes and cardiovascular disease), mental health, neighborhood conditions, as well as demographic features, such as age, education, race, ethnicity and income. In addition, for those households with children, we asked about the health of a randomly selected child.

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How are the topics and questions selected?

Community and local government partners including: the Harris County Health Care Alliance, Gateway to Care, One Voice Texas, Harris County Public Health, City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services, and local Super Neighborhood and civic associations, identified and prioritized topics in 2009. The survey team, then, formulated questions based on those topics for HHS 2010.

For HHS 2018, core questions were preserved and new items were solicited via email from all the stakeholders involved in providing topics in 2010 as well as from 2010 data users. We also added new Harvey-related questions since the survey was interviewing residents at the time of the Hurricane Harvey. These new questions were administered to the rest of the sample that was interviewed six to nine months after Harvey.

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What is the “Houston area”?

The Health of Houston Survey defines the Houston area to include both the City of Houston and all of Harris County (for map of area click here). We also include those areas of the City of Houston that extend into Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties. The large number of households and the process of selecting participants will allow results to be statistically representative of the Houston area.

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Who was surveyed?

More than 5,000 households participated in the HHS 2010. First, households were randomly selected by address, and then one adult was randomly selected within each household and interviewed either by phone, web or completed a mail questionnaire. If there were children living in the household, we randomly chose one for the selected adult to provide information on. HHS 2018 interviewed, by landline phones and cellphones, close to 5,700 adults and collected health information related to 1,500 children, 0 to 17 years old.

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What languages are interviews in?

The HHS 2010 was conducted in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, while HHS 2018 in English and Spanish. 

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Who leads the Health of Houston Survey?

The Health of Houston Survey is conducted by the Institute for Health Policy at UTHealth School of Public Health. Principal investigator is Stephen H. Linder, PhD, director of the Institute for Health Policy and Professor at the UTHealth School of Public Health, and the survey director is Dritana Marko, M.D., Faculty Associate at the UTHealth School of Public Health.

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How is the Health of Houston Survey funded?

The HHS 2010 was funded by the Houston Endowment with support from UTHealth’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science. For the 2018 HHS, support was provided by:

  • Houston Endowment
  • Episcopal Health Foundation
  • Texas Children’s Hospital
  • Memorial Hermann Health System
  • Community Health Choice/Harris Health System
  • UTHealth, President’s Excellence Fund
  • UTHealth School of Public Health, Office of the Dean
  • Texas Medical Center, Health Policy Institute

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Who collects the data? 

In 2010, Social Science Research Services (SSRS), a professional survey firm, contacted the selected households and invited them to complete the survey by phone, web or mail (HHS 2010), while ICF, also a professional survey firms, collected the data for 2018 using landline phones and cellphones.  

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 Is the information private?

All personal information collected in this survey will be kept private according to Federal regulations and law (45 CFR 46 21 CFR 50, 56, 312, 812; PL 104-191; etc.). In other words, each participant will remain anonymous. 

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What is this data useful for?

Local organizations, elected officials and health care leaders will be able to identify unmet needs in the community and seek resources to improve the health of Houston area families. Some uses include: determining barriers to accessing health care, evaluating health programs, studying health-related disparities, monitoring progress towards national, state and local health objectives, and well-being indicators by geographic area.

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Where can I see/access the results of the survey?

The Institute for Health Policy has posted the results of the survey on the Health of Houston survey website. Data files, questionnaires, documentation, and analytic reports are available for download by the public. Please go to “Data & Mapping” to access the data, maps and questionnaires. The Summary Reports for HHS 2010 and HHS 2018 are posted under “Publications”. To receive information on the updates, please register by clicking to “Sign up for updates” in the HHS main page.

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Has the study been reviewed by an institutional review board?

The study was approved by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). For more information, you can reach the committee at 713-500-7943.

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What if I want more information?

For more information, please email to: or visit our website at

You may also write to us at:

Health of Houston Survey 
Institute for Health Policy
The University of Texas School of Public Health
P.O. Box 20186
Houston, TX 77225

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