Support in obtaining a codebook for 2015 sample data

I am trying to obtain a 2015 sample dataset but the data from a summary view looks different. Can i get support on this?

I see that you have an account with IPUMS NHIS, the harmonized version of the National Health Interview Survey. It sounds like you are experiencing difficulties trying to access a data file. Note that unlike when downloading these data directly from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) website, you will not download entire files but instead select samples and variables of interest to create a custom data file that can include data from files that are released separately by NCHS (e.g., pool multiple years of data, or include variables from both sample adults and sample children in the same file). I am linking to a brief video tutorial that describes how to select variables and samples to create your custom data extract.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I have misunderstood your question or the issue you are encountering.

Hello Isabel,

Thank you for your email. I was able to select data. I am only having trouble running the data on SPSS even with the spss exercise provided. Could you please direct me to anyone that can assist me with this?

Thank you,

By default, our data are compressed and fixed-width files (*.dat.gz). You will need to decompress or unzip them before using them. I recommend 7zip as a free decompression software for Windows and The Unarchiver for Macs. Also make sure your working directory in SPSS is set to the location where your data file and command file are stored.

Once the file is decompressed, to open the data file in SPSS, you need to modify the .sps command file.

A line in the command file (the “.sps” file) will read

data list file ='usa_00001.dat'/

Change that line to read
data list file ='C:\IPUMS\usa_00001.dat'/

Pull down the “Run” menu and select “All”. SPSS will then read in your data.

Please let me know if you are still having trouble after following these steps.

Hello Isabel,

Thank you for your support.
I followed the steps but still having trouble. Is there a way I can get additional support?
I will really appreciate it.


Can you please provide detailed information about the trouble you are having? For example, a screenshot of what happens at the point you are having trouble with? Alternatively you can email us at and we can assist you by email. You can send your edited syntax file and a screenshot of your working directory. I will need more information either on the forum or by email about the specific problem you are experiencing to be able to help you.

You may have more success requesting an SPSS formatted dataset, rather than reading in the .dat to SPSS. To request a formatted file, click on the “change” option in the Data Format row on your extract summary page.

A screenshot of an IPUMS USA extract summary page with a red box around the row denoting the data format and a hyperlink to change that format.

On the next page, select your preferred format.

A screenshot of the IPUMS USA data format and structures page, with a red box around a list of formatting options. The listed options are Fixed-width text (.dat), Stata (.dta), SPSS (.sav), SAS (.sas7bdat; does not include value labels), and Comma delimited (.csv).

Note that you will still need to decompress your formatted data file before opening it in the statistical software package of your choice.

Hello Isabel,

Thank you for this information.
I tried the other option you recommended which was requesting an SPSS formatted dataset, rather than reading in the .dat to SPSS, and it worked.

Do you provide additional one on one data analysis support in terms of analyzing the data and presenting result? Or would you be willing to direct me to the right place? Thank you.

Kind regards,

It is outside the scope of IPUMS User Support to provide direct assistance with analyzing or presenting data. We do offer some data training exercises you can use to practice analyzing IPUMS data, as well as a user guide that provides documentation on different data topics that are important for analyzing the data successfully, such as sampling weights, variance estimation, and information on specific variables. I would recommend reaching out to a teacher, professor, supervisor, mentor, or coworker or searching for a data analysis course or workshop near you for additional assistance with data analysis.