Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

National public health survey - Health on equal terms
Nationella folkhälsoenkäten

Relevance for this Topic
Country Sweden
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Contact information

Anna Bessö / Department for follow-up and evaluation
Swedish National Public Health Institute
831 40 Östersund
Phone: +4663-19 96 64
Email: Anna.besso(at)

Timeliness, transparency

Data access to be discussed with principal investigator.

Type of data


Type of Study

Longitude survey: long-term study of random or different samples

Data gathering method

Self-administered questionnaire


Access to data

Access to data must be discussed with the principal investigator. Access is only granted following an agreement.

Conditions of access

Contact principal investigator.

Contact principal investigator.

Contact principal investigator.

Dataset is compatible.

Data available both in Swedish and in English.


The Swedish National Institute for Public Health annually conducts a national public health survey, Health on Equal Terms, which includes a sample of 20,000 people aged 16-84 years. The survey, which was conducted for the first time in 2004, is an ongoing collaboration between the National Institute for Public Health and county councils/regions in Sweden, and is carried out with help from Statistics Sweden (SCB). Since 2007, the study participants are given the opportunity to complete the survey on the web. There are 8 datasets with the following characteristics: Dataset 001: Health on equal terms 2004 143 variables. 12,166 cases. 60.8% response frequency. 2004-03-01 - 2004-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) Dataset 002: Healts on equal terms 2005 131 variables. 6,024 cases. 60.3% response frequency. 2005-03-01 - 2005-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) Dataset 003: Health on equal terms 2006 134 variables. 5,995 cases. 60.1% response frequency. 2006-03-01 - 2006-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) Dataset 004: Health on equal terms 2007 133 variables. 5,738 cases. 57.5% response frequency. 2007-03-01 - 2007-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Web-based) 2007-03-01 - 2007-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) Dataset 005: Health on equal terms 2008 135 variables. 11,118 cases. 55.7% response frequency. 2008-03-01 - 2008-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) 2008-03-01 - 2008-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Web-based) Dataset 006: Health on equal terms 2009 135 variables. 10,373 cases. 52.1% response frequency. 2009-03-01 - 2009-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) 2009-03-01 - 2009-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Web-based) Dataset 007: Health on equal terms 2010 140 variables. 10,067 cases. 50.6% response frequency. 2010-03-01 - 2010-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) 2010-03-01 - 2010-06-30 (Self-completed questionnaire: Web-based) Dataset 008: 9,764 cases. 49% response frequency. 2011-04-18 - 2011-06-29 (Self-completed questionnaire: Paper/pencil) 2011-04-18 - 2011-06-29 (Self-completed questionnaire: Web-based


Sample of total population

Recurrent random samples

The whole country

Individuals aged 16 -84

The questions in the national public health survey cover physical and mental health, consumption of pharmaceuticals, contact with healthcare services, dental health, living habits, financial conditions, work and occupation, work environment, safety and social relationships. Data was also collected from the national registration such as marital status, country of birth, citizenship and year of immigration in order to reduce the number of questions in the questionnaire. Data from external sources was also collected regarding education (from the education register) and data regarding income, economic support, sickness benefits and pensions (from the income an taxation register). The response rate from 2004-2010 is between 50- 61 per cent.


Contact principal investigator.

Data quality

The validation of the questions primarily comprises construct validity, the question’s metric capacity to differentiate, previous use of the question and the inherent dropout ratio of the question. The objective of a construct validation is to illustrate whether the measure really measures what is intended to be measured. This was done in part through a theoretical review of what is intended to be measured and in part through analyses of whether the question generates expected or meaningful correlations to health status, gender, socio-economic classes and/or ages. The construct validity of each individual question was also tested at Statistics Sweden’s measurements laboratory.

The survey is voluntary and done with the purpose to investigate the health in the population and to show changes in the population's health state over time as a follow up of the national health politics. The sample is randomly drawn from the Statistics Sweden's population register and includes 20,000 people aged 16-84 years. The personal data is confidential and protected by law and those working with this survey are obliged to practice professional secrecy. Individual answers can not be identified in the results. The questionnaire includes some 70 questions on a total of 16 pages. Each county council has its own introduction letter and the questions has been prepared in collaboration with representatives from a number of different community medicine units.

The origin and quality of the questions are described in the report "Objective and background of the questions in the national public health survey". Most questions recur each year, but questions can in particular cases be replaced by other questions of good quality and national relevance.


This recurrent study gives a broad picture of how people at varies ages experiences their health conditions. The voluntary aspect of the study might influence social and other forms of selactions with regard to response rate. A specific analysis of the response rate has been done by Statistics Sweden.

  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Kenneth Abrahamsson
  • (see Partners)