Catalog of Holdings

Study Report

Study Number: QM-028-001-1-1-United States-UMISR-1992

Subject Area: Aging

Bibliographic Citation: Health and retirement study (HRS).  [machine-readable data file] / Juster, F. Thomas  [principal investigator(s)] / Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research  [distributor].

Originating Archive Number: HRS

Date Accessioned: 10/16/2009

Number of Files Received: 0

Comments: Users need to register with the Health and Retirement Study project to access the public-use data. Restricted data requires more extensive application process. Please visit HRS website for more information. RAND Corporation has created a wiki to compare several aging studies such as HRS, ELSA, SHARE, KLoSA, and CHARLES.

Access Status: Restricted

Documentation: Documentation, SAS, SPSS and Stata files are available from HRS website.

Abstract: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA U01AG009740) and the Social Security Administration. HRS was created to address the limits of a prior study, the Retirement History Study (RHS) conducted from 1969 to 1979. The RHS sample underrepresented women, Blacks, and Hispanics who, by the mid-1980s, accounted for a larger portion of the labor force than in the past. The RHS also did not ask about health or physical or mental function, all of which can impact the decision and ability to retire. HRS was initiated in 1992. Its original cohort is a nationally representative sample of Americans between the ages of 51 and 61 (born in the years 1931 through 1941). In the case of married couples, both spouses (including spouses who were younger than 51 or older than 61) were also interviewed. These participants continue to be contacted every 2 years as part of the ongoing HRS. The second survey, the Study of Assets and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) was first administered in 1993 to a nationally representative sample of Americans age 70 and older (born in 1923 or earlier). Both spouses in the AHEAD married couples were interviewed. The original HRS and AHEAD surveys were integrated in 1998, and the consolidated project is now referred to as the Health and Retirement Study. Two new groups of survey participants (including spouses) were added in 1998. The first group consists of people in the age group that falls between the original HRS and AHEAD samples. Born between 1924 and 1930 and raised during the Great Depression, these participants are called the Children of the Depression Age (CODA) cohort. The second group added in 1998 was the first “refresher cohort” brought in to replenish the sample of people in their early 50s as the original HRS cohort aged. It is known as the War Baby cohort, consisting of people born between 1942 and 1947 and their same-age or younger spouses. In 2004 another "refresher cohort" was added. This supplementary sample represents those born in 1953 or before. Since 1992 thousands of older Americans tell their stories by answering HRS questions about every aspect of their lives: how they are feeling, how they are faring financially, how they are interacting with family and others. The HRS data allows researchers and policy makers to learn if individuals and families are preparing for the economic and health requirements of advancing age and the types of actions and interventions at both the individual and societal levels that can promote or threaten health and wealth in retirement. In the 2006 data collection, participants' biological information such as their height and weight, measurements of lung function, blood pressure, grip strength, and walking speed was collected. A small samples of blood to measure cholesterol and glycosylated hemoglobin (an indicator of blood sugar control) levels, and DNA from salivary samples were also collected. These bio markers can be used for future genetic analyses in an updated effort to match biological factors with health and social data. Since 2002 several international studies modeling HRS have been conducted. They allow comparison of trends in aging and retirement worldwide. English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) is supported by grants from the British Government and the U.S. National Institute on Aging. The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) involves Sweden, Denmark, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany,Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Greece. SHARE features many technical innovations designed to maximize cross-national comparability. For example, it employs a single, centrally programmed survey instrument that uses an underlying language database to create country and language-specific instruments. The HRS and SHARE concepts have also been emulated in Eastern Asia. South Korea is already planning the second wave of the Korean Longitudinal Study on Aging, while planning for initial waves is well advanced in China, Thailand, and Japan, and initial planning for an Indian HRS has begun.

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