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California Women's Health Survey

The California Women's Health Survey (CWHS) was established in March 1997 to provide information to policy-makers and health professionals about women's health and to serve as a catalyst for innovative solutions that impact the health of California's women and girls. The CWHS is an annual telephone survey that collects information from a sample of approximately 4,000 randomly selected women aged 18 years or older on a wide variety of health indicators and health-related knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes.

Participation in the CWHS is completely voluntary and anonymous. Interviews are conducted by trained interviewers following standardized procedures developed by SRG staff and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey collects data monthly from a random sample of California adult women living in households with telephones. Quality control procedures are rigorous to ensure a high level of accuracy in the data collected.

Survey Specifics

  • Sponsors: The California Women's Health Survey is coordinated by California Department of Health Care Services and California Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the California Department of Mental Health, the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and the California Department of Social Services, as well as California Medical Review, Inc., (now known as Lumetra) and the Public Health Institute.
  • Mode of Administration: Telephone interview conducted in English and Spanish.
  • Survey Sample Design: Uses random-digit-dialed probability samples of the adult (aged 18 years and over) female population. The annual statewide sample size is approximately 4,000 participants.
  • Primary Survey Content: The survey consists of a core of demographic and health care access and health insurance coverage questions asked every year. Questions cover topical areas specific to women's health including breast and cervical cancer, mental health, family planning, breastfeeding, chronic illnesses (arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis), nutrition and obesity, sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, health information, care giver responsibilities and hormone replacement therapy.
  • Population Targeted: Civilian, non-institutionalized population 18 years of age and older who reside in households with telephones. Persons who do not have telephones or have telephones but are either in institutional settings or cannot be understood over the telephone are excluded.
  • Demographic Data: Age, educational attainment, race/ethnicity, household income, employment status, marital status and sexual orientation.
  • Years Collected: Annually since 1997.
  • Geographic Estimates: Data are weighted to produce State of California estimates.

To Request the CWHS Data

If you are interested in obtaining public use data from the CWHS or you have questions, please contact:

Julia C. Tomassilli, Ph.D.
Director, Public Health Survey Research Program
California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street, Sacramento CA 95819-6128
Phone: (916) 278-2081

Refer to the technical documentation (PDF) for the survey to determine which year(s) to request.

CWHS Reports and Publications

California Women's Health Surveys

CWHS SAS Documentation

Contact Us

For more information, please contact:

Julia C. Tomassilli, Ph.D.
Director, Public Health Survey Research Program
California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street, Sacramento CA 95819-6128
Phone: (916) 278-2081


Upon request, documents found on this site will be made available in Braille, large print, and audiocassette or computer disk. To obtain a copy in one of these alternate formats, please call or write:

Office of Civil Rights
Department of Health Care Services
P. O. Box 997413, MS 0009
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413
711 (California State Relay)

Last modified on: 5/21/2015 10:28 AM