According to Five Thirty Eight, the National Health Interview Survey is not the only survey Americans are eschewing. Many Americans do not want share details about their lives to taxpayer-funded bureaucrats, and commit time to a 90 minute survey.

This trend has been documented by the National Research Council and the Pew Research Center. Scientists I spoke to repeatedly referred to this problem as “the elephant in the room.” It’s not clear why this is, but the length of the survey is probably not the primary driver, said James Lepkowski, director of the University of Michigan’s program in survey methodology.

“The instrument is a mess,” he said, referring to the survey. “Every little program has its own questions.” For example, he suggested reducing the number of questions about health insurance and what kinds of diseases people have.

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