|Dataset full name:
||Health and Retirement Study
||The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a nationally representative longitudinal panel survey conducted biennially. The study follows a cohort(s) of adults age 50 years or older in the United States. The purpose of the HRS is to understand the health shift in older adults and demographic changes in labor force participation at the end of their service. It provides detailed information on demographic characteristics, income, work, assets, housing, pension plans, health insurance, disability, physical health and functioning, cognitive functioning, and health care expenditures. The original study began in 1992 and follows up on the respondent and their spouse or partner every two years through in-depth interviews. A new cohort is added to the sample every six years.
In 1998 original HRS was merged with Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest-Old (AHEAD, born before 1923). In 1998 the HRS also included a Children of the Depression cohort (CODA, born 1923-1930) and a War Baby cohort (WB, born 1942-1947). In 2004 an Early Baby Boomer cohort (EBB, born 1948-1953) was added, and in 2010 a Mid Boomers cohort (MB, born 1954-1959).
||Aging, Longitudinal, Health, Income, Retirement, Disability, Housing, Pension, Family characteristics
||National Institutes of Health (NIH):
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research
||Health conditions/Disability measures
||Diabetes, Cancer, Lung disease, Coronary heart disease, Congestive heart failure, Stroke, Arthritis, Musculo-skeletal pain, Psychiatric problems, Self-assessed health status,
||ADLs, IADLs, Assistance/Special equipment required/used, Cognitive functioning (memory , word recognition, backwards count, word recall, vocabulary, Mini‐Mental State Exam), Communication problems
A subsample in 2004 & 2006 received standardized assessments of physical functioning (lung function, grip strength, balance, walking speed)
||Measures/outcomes of interest
||Income, Education, Internet use, Housing, Employment, Employer accommodations, Assets, Pension plans, Health insurance, Health care expenditures, Assistive Technology use
||Nationally representative sample of adults over the age of 50
||Initial (Wave 1) number of respondents in sample by cohort:
12,652 - HRS: Original R born 1931-1941
8,222 - AHEAD: Original R born in 1923 or earlier
2,320 - CODA (Children of Depression): Original R born 1924-1930
2,529 - WB (War Baby): Original R born 1942-1947
3,330 - EBB (Early Boomers): Original R born 1948-1953
|Unit of Observation
|Data Collection Mode
||Primarily personal interview and phone surveys.
Restricted data linkages available to the Employer Pension Study, National Death Index, Social Security Administration, and Medicare files.
|Data Collection Frequency
||Strengths and limitations
||Nationally-representative, multi-stage area probability sample. Excellent re-interview response rates of 90% or higher. Wide range of questions asked including: functional status, disability, economic factors, retirement, health services utilization, social security disability benefits, veterans’ benefits and workers’ compensation. The majority (80%) of HRS participants allow Medicare record based disease history data to be linked to their HRS data. **NOTE Medicare data access requires a Data Use Agreement (DUA) from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)**
Restricted data linkages include: biometric and biological information to the online genetics database of the National Institutes of Health (12,500 participants) , National Death Index, Social Security benefit and Medicare files.
||Information on chronic disease and health-care utilization are based on self-reports. Proxy responses used in about 20% of the 2008 core interviews for the oldest cohort (born 18890-1923) . Some question wording has been altered over time making some comparisons problematic. Questionnaire skip patterns and survey wave design can be difficult to follow.
|Data Access Requirements
||Data Use agreement, No cost
||Servais, Marita A. Overview of HRS Public Data Files for Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Analysis (2010)
Servais, Marita A. Overview of HRS Public Data Files for Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Analysis (2010)
|Dataset components (where applicable)
Restricted data files
||Christine T. Cigolle, Kenneth M. Langa, Mohammed U. Kabeto, Zhiyi Tian, Caroline S. Blaum. Geriatric Conditions and Disability: The Health and Retirement Study. Annals of Internal Medicine 2007. 147 (3) 156-164.