At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Designed to provide statewide population estimates, local-level estimates for counties with populations greater than 60,000, and estimates for major racial/ethnic groups (including several Asian ethnic groups).
  • Interviews conducted in several languages: English, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese dialects), Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog.
  • Largest, most diverse state and local health survey in United States.
  • Resources include AskCHIS, an online query system to provide real-time health statistics based on the survey. Also, AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition (AskCHIS NE) is available to provides model-based health estimates for California's diverse population at the local level (zip codes and cities). With AskCHIS NE, you can get estimates on top health indicators for your zip code, city, county and legislative district.
  • Provides data on a wide range of health topics, including dietary intake, physical activity, sedentary time, food environment, height, and weight.



To collect data about the health and health care needs of individuals in California.

Target Population

Noninstitutionalized individuals residing in California households. Includes adults, adolescents (ages 12-17 years), and children (ages 0-11 years).


Began in 2001. Conducted biennially from 2001 to 2009. Became a continuous survey in 2011. Most recent year conducted was 2019.


California Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services. CHIS provides a list of other state and Federal agencies and private foundations that fund this survey.

Special Note(s)

Specific questionnaire content varies by age group (adult, adolescent, child) and cycle; questionnaires are available.

Body mass index is calculated for adults and adolescents, and height and weight data are available for children.


Sample Design

Cross-sectional survey.

Probability sampling representative of the California population. Sampling is designed to provide reliable estimates for most individual counties and sub-county strata for large counties. Oversampling of Asian ethnic groups, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and residents of select counties. Learn more.

Sample Size

Approximately 20,000 households every year.

CHIS interviewed 21,449 households in 2018, including 21,177 adults, 432 teens and 1,586 children.

Special Note(s)

In 2007, CHIS implemented a dual-RDD sampling frame. Starting CHIS 2015 the cell-phone sample accounted for about 50% of participating households. In 2019, CHIS was redesigned to implement an ABS sampling frame, and interviews were administered via web and telephone. [Learn more.] <>

Key Variables


NameMethods of Assessment
Disability (ADL/IADL*; cognitive; hearing; movement/physical; vision)Interview/questionnaire
Household incomeInterview/questionnaire
Language spoken at homeInterview/questionnaire
Parental citizenshipInterview/questionnaire
Parents’ marital statusInterview/questionnaire
Race/ethnicity and ethnic subgroupsInterview/questionnaire
School attendanceInterview/questionnaire
Sex at birth, Gender identityInterview/questionnaire


NameMethods of Assessment
Frequency of consumption of fruits and vegetables, added sugars, fast foodDietary screener
Frequency of eating in the school cafeteriaInterview/questionnaire

Physical Activity-Related

NameMethods of Assessment
Distance between school and home (in minutes)Interview/questionnaire
Frequency and duration of physical activity outside of school physical educationInterview/questionnaire
Frequency of active methods such as walking or bicycling to/from schoolInterview/questionnaire
Frequency of use of parks and physical activity in parksInterview/questionnaire
Participation in sportsInterview/questionnaire
Physical activity environment: Parks within walking distance, their safetyInterview/questionnaire
Physical education enrollment, frequency of class, and amount of activity during classInterview/questionnaire
Time spent watching television, playing video games, and using a computerInterview/questionnaire


NameMethods of Assessment
Physical sleep environment: Items needed for sleep (e.g., stuffed animal, pacifier)Interview/Questionnaire


NameMethods of Assessment
HeightSelf report
WeightSelf report


NameMethods of Assessment
Stratum, county, zip code, census tract, latitude and longitudeSample Data

Special Note(s)

*ADL: Activities of Daily Living / IADL: Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Information on public-use data.
Information on the AskCHIS and AskCHIS NE online query system.


Public-use data are available free of charge. Restricted data files available through the Data Access Center. Data access center services are provided for the following rates: DAC Rates

Special Note(s)

Sensitive data, detailed demographic information, and geographic identifiers are available through the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) Data Access Center. Learn more.
Specific questionnaire content varies by age group (adult, adolescent, child) and cycle; obtain questionnaires.


Geocode Variable(s)

Stratum, county, zip code, census tract, latitude, and longitude.

Existing Linkages

CHIS data have been linked to those from other sources:

• County-level CHIS data on body mass index and physical activity were linked to Census and California Department of Transportation data on vehicle miles of travel, population density, and commute time for 33 California counties. Learn more.
• CHIS data on children’s asthma diagnoses were linked to California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District traffic density data using home street segments based on residential cross-streets. Learn more.

Special Note(s)

The Data Access Center can provide access to analyze geocoded data and possesses the GIS software and services needed to analyze them.

Selected Publications

CHIS has compiled a list of publications reporting analyses of its data. CHIS also maintains a clearinghouse for research projects using CHIS data.


Allen ML, Elliott MN, Morales LS, Diamant AL, Hambarsoomian K, Schuster MA. Adolescent participation in preventive health behaviors, physical activity, and nutrition: Differences across immigrant generations for Asians and Latinos compared with Whites. American Journal of Public Health 2007;97(2):337-343.

Mistry R, McCarthy WJ, Yancey AK, Lu Y, Patel M. Resilience and patterns of health risk behaviors in California adolescents. Preventive Medicine 2009;48(3):291-297.


Babey SH, Jones M, Yu H, Goldstein H. Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California. UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and California Center for Public Health Advocacy, 2009.

Physical Activity-Related

Babey SH, Hastert TA, Huang W, Brown ER. Sociodemographic, family, and environmental factors associated with active commuting to school among U.S. adolescents. Journal of Public Health Policy 2009;30(Suppl 1):S203-S220.

Babey SH, Hastert TA, Yu H, Brown ER. Physical activity among adolescents. When do parks matter? American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2008;34(4):345-348.

Berrigan D, Pickle LW, Dill J. Associations between street connectivity and active transportation. International Journal of Health Geographics 2010;9(1):20. [Epub ahead of print]


Ahn MK, Juon HS, Gittelsohn J. Association of race-ethnicity, socioeconomic status, acculturation, and environmental factors with risk of overweight among adolescents in California, 2003. Preventing Chronic Disease 2008;5(3):A75.