Population health surveys typically collect self-reported information from a randomized sample, and may be done provincially or nationally. For example, in Canada, Statistics Canada conducts the National Population Health Survey1 (NPHS) every two years, with the same group of Canadians, providing longitudinal data on health and factors that influence health. Another national population health survey is the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)2. Collected annually, the CCHS collects information on the health status and health care resource utilization of the population, as well as social determinants of health.
Population health data is crucial for a number of reasons. First, population health data can be used for health surveillance, as well as to track changes in the population’s health and to identify population health needs (this is particularly important as the population ages, and health needs change!). Furthermore, population health data can be used to identify disparities across populations (for instance, are there health disparities across age groups? For marginalized or vulnerable populations? Between regions or provinces?)