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Public Health: Health Statistics

Health Statistics

On this page I have included links to general and health-related statistical sites.

On a separate page you will find additional resources for epidemiology.

Sites dealing with statistical information on specific subjects are listed with other material on that subject.

Statistics assistance is available to higher degree students and research staff in the Faculty of Health - see Data, Statistics, and IT Services


Health Statistics Resources

Searching Medline (PubMed)

Remember that Medline has a Thesaurus of terms - MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), a controlled vocabulary used for indexing articles in Medline. MeSH terminology provides a consistent way to retrieve information where authors may use different terminology for the same concepts.

You will find material on statistics in Medline, but you will need to be aware of the thesaurus (MeSH) terms available for searching. Below are some examples of the language Medline uses to describe the concepts in this field.

MeSH - Data Collection

MeSH - Demography

MeSH - Statistics

Many concepts have hierarchies of more specific subcategories or related terms. The indentations in the lists reflect the structure of the hierarchy, and the + signs at the end of terms indicate that there is a further hierarchy of terms not displayed here. Any of these terms can be searched individually, or you can "explode" terms to search sections of the list.

When you search for subjects using MeSH terms from the Medline thesaurus you will also have the option of appending subheadings to narrow the focus of your search.

The subheadings below may also be useful when you are searching for statistical material.

Statistics and Numerical Data
Used with non-disease headings for the expression of numerical values which describe particular sets or groups of data. It excludes manpower distribution, for which "manpower" is used and excludes supply or demand for which "supply and distribution" is used.

Used with human and veterinary diseases for the distribution of disease, factors which cause disease, and the attributes of disease in defined populations; includes incidence, frequency, prevalence, endemic and epidemic outbreaks; also surveys and estimates of morbidity in geographic areas and in specified populations. Used also with geographical headings for the location of epidemiologic aspects of a disease. Excludes mortality for which "mortality" is used.

Used with diseases and selected terms for ethnic, cultural, anthropological, or racial aspects, and with geographic headings to indicate the place of origin of a group of people.

Used with human and veterinary diseases for mortality statistics. For deaths resulting form various procedures statistically, but for death resulting in a specific case use the MeSH term "fatal outcome".

Supply and Distribution
Used for the quantitative availability and distribution of material, equipment, health services, personnel, and facilities. It excludes food supply and water supply in industries and occupations.

Used with equipment, facilities, programs, services, and health personnel for discussions, usually with data, of how much they are used. It includes discussions of overuse and underuse.

For a list of the abbreviations used for subheadings in PubMed click here.

Try the search strategy below to search for articles which deal with statistical information on smoking in Australia.


Smoking/Statistics and Numerical Data (MeSH term)
Inhaling and exhaling the smoke of tobacco or something similar to tobacco. Marijuana smoking is listed as a more specific subcategory.


Australia (MeSH term)
The advantage of searching Australia as a thesaurus term is that "exploding" the term will include the following more specific areas.

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia

PubMed Search Formulation

smoking/sn[majr] AND australia[mh] AND english[lang]

The search strategy above uses the subheading statistics and numerical data "sn" associated with smoking. The section in the square brackets includes majr - which focuses the search on articles where the subject is a major issue in the article. As PubMed's default is to "explode" terms marijuana smoking is also included in this search. The search is then limited to Australia, and to articles in English or with English abstracts.

Click here to see how it works. PubMed Search.

Australian Bureau of Statistics - Health

Census of Population and Housing - Australian Bureau of Statistics

Data (AIHW)
Statistical data on a wide range of diseases and health topics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. - Health and Wellbeing

Deaths (AIHW)
This site, from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, provides information about deaths for use in public health research and planning, including the latest data and long term trends.

Department of Health - Statistics
Australian health statistics from the Commonwealth Department of Health.

HealthStats NSW

METeOR home
METeOR is Australia’s repository for national data standards for health, housing and community services statistics and information.

Mortality over the twentieth century in Australia: trends and patterns in major causes of death
Canberra, Australian Istitute of Health and Welfare, 2006.
Mortality Surveillance Series Number 4

SA Health  - Health Statistics

Statistical Services Branch - Queensland Health.

A working guide to international comparisons of health
Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW), April 2012

Health Survey for England
The Health Survey for England is a series of annual surveys about the health of people in England. This page provides background information and links to the published surveys.

Hospital Episode Statistics - Health & Social Care Information Centre
HES is a data warehouse containing details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and A&E attendances at NHS hospitals in England.

ISD Scotland - Information and Statistics
Information Services Division [ISD Scotland] is a business operating unit of NHS National Services Scotland.

Statistics : NHS - U.K.
Health and care statistics are also published by the Department of Health and the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

CDC - National Center for Health Statistics
The intent of this site is to provide users access to the health information that NCHS produces. Users can browse the publications and statistical tables, download selected public-use data files, or conduct on-line database queries and searches. There's also a section which provides express links to surveys and data collection systems. Below are some of the sections of particular interest.

The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care
The Atlas project brings together researchers in diverse disciplines - including epidemiology, economics, and statistics - and focuses on the accurate description of how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States.

The Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy maintains this site to provide easy access to the full range of statistics and information produced for public use by agencies of the U.S. Federal Government.

HCUPnet (A tool for identifying, tracking, and analyzing US national hospital statistics)
HCUPnet is an online statistical tool created as a part of the Health Care Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), an initiative of the US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). HCUPnet allows users to generate customized statistical reports in order to identify, analyze, and track national data on "hospital utilization, access, charges, quality and outcomes." Data in the customized reports are derived from the latest Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). Instructions for use are available at the site.

Health, United States
This site was developed by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to provide users easy electronic access to data from Health, United States. The homepage contains links to electronic versions of the latest edition of Health, United States as well as previous editions.

MedlinePlus: Health Statistics
MEDLINEplus is the National Library of Medicine's consumer health information portal. Lists of links are evaluated/reviewed/quality-filtered.

United States Census Bureau
Many of the Bureau's publications are available online.

A collection of vital statistics products including tables, data files, and reports that allow users to access and examine vital statistics and population data interactively.

WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System)
WISQARS is an interactive database system that provides customized reports of injury-related data. It is product of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in the United States.

World Databank
Contains data for countries and country groups covering financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics. Of particular interest is the section on health, nutrition and population statistics.

DHS+ Demographic and Health Surveys
To date, the DHS+ program has provided technical assistance for more than 100 surveys in Africa, Asia, the Near East, Latin America, and the Caribbean. This database allows users to select specific countries and demographic and health indicators to create customised statistical reports. Data includes household characteristics, fertility preferences, contraceptive knowledge and use, maternal and child health, and AIDS and other STDs.

European health for all database (HFA-DB)
Contains data on a range of health indicators, including basic demographic and socioeconomic indicators; some lifestyle- and environment-related indicators; mortality, morbidity and disability; hospital discharges; and health care resources, utilization and expenditure. Allows analysis of trends and international comparisons for a wide range of health statistics to support the formulation and monitoring of health policy at national and international levels.

European Mortality Database (MDB)
The Mortality Indicator Database (MDB) allows age- and sex-specific analysis of mortality trends by broad disease-groups, as well as disaggregated to 67 specific causes of death. Data reach back to 1980.

HNPStats: the World Bank’s Health, Nutrition and Population data platform
HNPStats is a data source for health, nutrition and population indicators from various national and international data sources. It provides direct access to more than 100 indicators, with time series for countries and country groups from 1960 to the most recent year, where data are available.

International Data Base (IDB)
Maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau the International Data Base (IDB) is a computerized data bank containing statistical tables of demographic, and socio-economic data for all countries of the world.

The Internet Glossary of Statistical Terms
A well set out glossary with illustrations.

Pan American Health Organization. Country Health Profiles
From the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a series of health data collections for the Americas, country by country. Also at this site are Basic Health Indicators and Core Health Data from which tables can be generated.

Population Reference Bureau DataFinder
This database from the Population Reference Bureau contains data on demographic variables for countries, for world regions and sub-regions, for the world as a whole, and for the United States as a whole as well as individual states.

Rice Virtual Lab in Statistics
Produced by David M Lane, William March Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Rx for Survival . Global Health Atlas | PBS
From the Global Health Council, an interactive world map that allows retrieval of statistical information on a number of topics including aspects of health, population, environment, economy, and education.

Singapore Health Statistics
From the National University of Singapore Medical Library, an annotated list of links to Singapore health statistics.

Social Indicators (UN. Statistics Division)
This site contains a section on health indicators which provides country by country statistics on life expectancy, and infant and child mortality.

SOCR: Statistics Online Computational Resource
The Statistics Online Computational Resource (SOCR) is based at UCLA, and their site includes online aids for probability and statistics education, including interactive applets, computational and graphing tools, and classroom activities.

Statistics Canada:Health in Canada
Data from the Canadian government's Health Statistics Division.

StatNotes: Online Textbook
PA 765 Statnotes: An Online Textbook, by G. David Garson, who is Professor of Public Administration, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, North Carolina State University.

StatSoft Electronic Statistics Textbook
As the name suggests this text is provided courtesy of the StatSoft Company.

UNICEF - Publications - Statistics and Data
This link will allow you to access UNICEF's online statistical publications.

United Nations Statistics Division - Demographic and Social Statistics
This site has links to a wide range of statistical information.

WHO | Global Health Observatory (GHO)
The WHO Statistical Information System (WHOSIS) has been upgraded and incorporated into the GHO, to provide more data, more tools, more analysis and more reports..

World Factbook
The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency. It contains statistical data for countries throughout the world.The Factbook is in the public domain and may be copied freely without permission of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe. Where We Work

World Health Report
This page also contains a link to previous World Health Reports.

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