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About 1 in 10 people are admitted to the hospital in a year

An estimated 92.2 percent of the U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population had no overnight stays in the hospital in 2011, according to the National Health Interview Survey, a federal government survey that has been conducted regularly since 1957.  This figure represents all ages.  By my calculation, if 9 in 10 had no overnight stay, then 1 in 10 was admitted at least once during the year.  These are approximate figures — I rounded a little bit.

Most of the people who were hospitalized in 2011 were hospitalized just once (about 6 percent of the total population).  About 2 percent of the population were hospitalized two different times in 2011 and about 1 percent were hospitalized three or more separate times.

I was curious to see how that figure compared to earlier years, so I went back in our collection here at the AHA Resource Center and dug through some of the older books in the Rainbow Series (the NCHS Vital and Health Statistics series, so called because each part of the series had a different color cover).  I looked at statistics for the early ’60s (pre-Medicare) and the late ’60s and early ’70s (post-Medicare) and guess what?  The number back in those days was the same as in 2011 — about 1 in 10 people were hospitalized in a given year.

Source: Summary health statistics for the U.S. population: National Health Interview Survey, 2011.  Vital & Health Statistics;10(255):43, Dec. 2012.  Click here for full text: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_255.pdf  The earlier data are found in Series 10 books entitled: Persons hospitalized by number of hospital episodes and days in a year.  NCHS has scanned all of these early books in the series and you can access them all free by clicking here:http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/series/series10.htm  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org


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