The annual National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is a major source of general statistics on the health of the U.S. population. The NHIS is one of only eight data sources used to monitor progress towards Healthy People 2020 objectives that includes measures of sexual orientation. This makes the NHIS a vital source of information about illness, healthcare access, and progress toward health objectives for LGB people. The NHIS does not currently collect information on gender identity.
An estimated 1.4 million gender minority adults live in the U.S. Gender minority people are at high risk for poor health outcomes, including poor physical and mental health, higher rates of suicide, and lower rates of health care coverage. In order to more fully understand the health disparities facing gender minorities and the factors that contribute to these outcomes, more survey data are needed.
To better understand the health disparities experienced by the transgender population, the NHIS should add survey questions that allow identification of gender minorities in the U.S. population. This will contribute to progress towards the Healthy People 2020 goals by improving understanding of health disparities experienced by gender minority people.