Healthy Ireland Survey, 2015

Study Number (SN): 0021-00 



Department of Health -Health and Well being programme (2015). Healthy Ireland Survey, 2015 [dataset]. Version 1. Irish Social Science Data Archive. SN: 0021-00. URL




The Healthy Ireland Survey is an annual interviewer administered face-to-face survey conducted on behalf of the Department of Health by Ipsos MRBI. The first wave with 7,539 participants was carried out in 2014/2015.

Its purpose is to provide current and credible data about the wide variety of factors which determine health and wellbeing in the population aged 15 years and older.

The topics covered include general health, health service utilisation and key lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet, sexual health and wellbeing to monitor the key trends and policy impacts in those areas. It also offers flexibility for the substitution of further modules to meet particular policy needs, including cross-sectoral /health determinant ‘health in all policies’ issues.

A questionnaire was developed using validated questions where possible. This was done to ensure comparability with other surveys and to facilitate our international reporting to the EU, the OECD and the World Health Organization.

In addition to completing the survey questionnaire individuals interviewed on this wave of the survey were asked to undertake a physical measurement module. Within this module interviewers measured and recorded the respondent’s height, weight and waist circumference. A total of 6,142 respondents (81%) participated in this module.

After completing the survey questionnaire, respondents aged 17 and over were asked to complete a self-completion questionnaire on issues relating to sexual health. A total of 6,529 respondents (87% of those aged 17 and over) completed at least part of this questionnaire.

Approval to conduct the study was provided by the Research Ethics Committee at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.


  • Health
  • Health services
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Diet and exercise
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Sexual health




Population aged 15 years and over residing in private households

Observation units


Temporal coverage

Dates of fieldwork: 10/2014 – 08/2015

Time dimension

Cross-sectional study, repeated yearly

Geographical coverage

Country: Republic of Ireland

Sampling procedures

This study used the An Post/Ordnance Survey Ireland GeoDirectory, as the primary sampling frame. GeoDirectory is a complete database of every building in the Republic of Ireland. Each of the 2.2 million addresses contained in GeoDirectory includes an accurate standardised postal address, usage details for each building (commercial or residential), a unique 8-digit identity number and geo-coordinates which accurately locate the centre point of each building to within one metre.

A two-stage equal-probability sample of addresses was drawn, with the aim of attempting to interview a randomly selected individual at each selected address.

The sample was issued in Electoral Division clusters each comprising 20 addresses. With 10.5% of addresses anticipated to be ineligible and a target 60% response rate this would deliver an average of 10.74 addresses per cluster.

All Electoral Divisions containing fewer than 500 addresses were combined with adjacent sectors before the first stage of sampling (i.e. before clusters are selected). This ensured that each cluster covered a sufficiently large geographic area.

The sample was stratified by region and within this by urban/rural and proportion of owner occupiers.

A total of 686 clusters were selected with probability proportional to address count. Twenty addresses were then selected systematically (random start and fixed interval skip) from the list of addresses in each PSU, thereby ensuring a spread of addresses across the cluster.

In the cases where an address generated more than one household, one was selected by the interviewer in the field using a random selection method.

In each selected household, individuals aged 15+ were listed and the interviewer selected one eligible individual through a randomised approach (e.g. KISH Grid). This is the only individual within that household that could be interviewed, and the interviewer could not seek a replacement if that individual was unwilling to participate.

Summary of sample design:

Number of clusters 686
Number of addresses per cluster 20
Gross sample of addresses 13,720
Estimated number eligible (89.5%) 12,277
Anticipated number of completed interviews (60% response rate) 7,366


The sample was stratified by region and within this by urban/rural and proportion of owner occupiers.

Three weights were produced – a main survey weight and separate weights for BMI and sexual health data.

The main survey weight involved both selection weights and non-response adjustments. The main weight weighted these individuals to the profile of the population aged 15 and over in Ireland. This weight was then used for any analysis of the main questionnaire data (i.e. all data except for physical measurement and sexual health). This main weight incorporated a selection weight and a non-response adjustment.

One individual aged 15 or over was randomly selected from each participating household by the interviewer using a KISH grid. Without a selection weight, individuals in larger households would be under-represented in the sample.

A selection weight overcomes any biases that may arise due to individuals from larger households being under-represented in the sample (these individuals had a lower chance of selection than those in smaller households). Non-response adjustments were made using known population statistics published by the Central Statistics Office. The variables used in this respect were: age by gender, education, work status of the respondent and region.

Separate weights were also produced for BMI and sexual health data. This was done to overcome differences in response to these parts of the survey (for example older respondents were typically less likely to participate in these modules). These weights were generated using logistic regression modelling. This model makes best use of the available data from other parts of the questionnaire to adjust for non-response behaviour.

Further detail is available in the Healthy Ireland Survey 2015 Technical Report (Reissued June 2016).

Methods of data collection

CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviewing)

Response rate

 Healthy Ireland response rate flow chart



Data (available through ISSDA application process)

File name


File format/s

Contents of file



Survey variables and data



Survey variables and data


Documentation (available for download)

File name


File format/s

(preferably PDF)

Contents of file

Healthy Ireland 2015 Data dictionary AMF


Contains variable name, question wording, valid codes, code description and filter information for each variable in the AMF.

Healthy Ireland 2015 Data dictionary AMF Appendix


To be read in conjunction with the data dictionary. Describes some of the derived variables, eg IPAQ.

Statistical Disclosure Control Methods Healthy Ireland Survey 2015


Description of the statistical disclosure control methods applied to the full dataset.

Healthy Ireland Survey 2015 Technical Report (Reissued June 2016)


Contains report on methodology, fieldwork, data preparation and analysis. Also questionnaire and information from participants.

Healthy Ireland Survey 2015 Summary of Findings


Report of top line analyses.



Healthy Ireland



  • The sexual health data are not included in the Anonymised Microdata File (AMF) due to the sensitive nature of the information.


Accessing the data

To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, sign it, and send it to ISSDA by email.

For teaching purposes, please complete the ISSDA Data Request Form for Teaching Purposes‌, and follow the procedures, as above. This covers sharing of data with students in a classroom situation. Teaching requests are approved on a once-off module/workshop basis. Subsequent occurances of the module/workshop require a new application. If students will subsequently using data for projects/assignments they must submit their own request form for Research Purposes. Please contact us if you have any queries.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion.


Any work based in whole or part on resources provided by the ISSDA, should  acknowledge: “Healthy Ireland" and also ISSDA, in the following way: “Accessed via the Irish Social Science Data Archive -”.

Citation requirement

The data and its creators shall be cited in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The bibliographic citation may be in the form suggested by the archive or in the form required by the publication.

Bibliographical citation

Department of Health. Health and Wellbeing Programme. Healthy Ireland Survey, 2015 [computer file]. Dublin: Irish Social Science Data Archive [distributor], March 2016.


The user shall notify the Irish Social Science Data Archive of all publications where she or he has used the data.

RMF Access

The Researcher Microdata File (RMF) for Wave 1 is now available for research and teaching purposes subject to the approval of the Department of Health.  Requests for access to RMF(s) must be made using the Healthy Ireland Survey RMF application form.

Details of the application process and relevant documentation are available on the Healthy Ireland website:

For a list of Health related datasets click here.



Journal Articles

McElroy, B.  (2017) Empirically Derived Weights for GMS Capitation Payments to General Practitioners.  Irish Journal of Medical Science: Volume 186, Issue 2, pp 471–476