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52,467 + 57,204 = 254,281,227? Using the National Health Interview Survey and the 2000 Census to Introduce Statistical Sampling and Weights

Single, R. M.
Journal of Statistics Education

The use of tangible examples can make the concepts of statistical sampling and survey design more meaningful for college students. These concepts are especially relevant with the advent of the 2000 Census and the debate over its use of statistical sampling.<br>In this paper, basic ideas from survey design are introduced using the 2000 Census as an example, in order to capitalize on the recent media attention. Then, these same concepts are applied to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Data for the 1993 NHIS can be accessed through the National Center for Health Statistics web site and simple analyses can be performed over the web to demonstrate the use of sampling weights. In addition, subsets of the data can be downloaded and analyzed using statistical software packages.<br>The methods of statistical sampling and the structure of a national survey have a variety of applications in the classroom, depending on the level of the course being taught. This paper discusses some of these applications and how to access and use these data as an effective teaching tool.