Using the HRS

Insights and advice for new and seasoned users of the Health and Retirement Study

Why 2016 is a Landmark Year for the HRS

Several exciting new data collections and developments are underway in 2016! Below I list 5 major developments.

Some of the data being collected now won’t be available for at least another year, in the case of the core interview, and perhaps not for several years for some of the other data collections. But if you’re excited about these new developments, and aren’t currently an HRS user, I wouldn’t wait until the data are available to start using the HRS. I suggest starting analysis projects using HRS data now so by the time all these new data collections are made available to the public you will be an experienced user ready to address big research questions in the social and biomedical sciences using these novel data.

  • Addition of the Late Baby Boom Cohort 2016 Cohort
    • In order to maintain a steady-state design the HRS adds a new cohort every six years to “refresh” the sample and maintain representation of adults over age 50. This year the Late Baby Boomer Cohort (1960-1965) is being added to the HRS sample.
  • *New* Aging Demographics and Memory Study (ADAMS)
    • ADAMS 1 was conducted from 2001-2009 on a subsample of HRS respondents ages 70 and older. The aim of ADAMS is to provide population-based estimates of dementia.
  • Life History Calendar
    • Pilot testing is underway in 2016 to develop a survey of HRS respondents that will collect retrospective life history information about family, employment, health and residential locations over their entire life course. This additional information is being collected with an emphasis on harmonization with life history calendar data collected by ELSA and SHARE.
  • New Biomarkers from Whole Blood
    • The collection of whole blood samples will enhance the existing set of biomarkers by adding biomarkers related to immune system functioning. Whole blood collection will also provide new information about age-related changes at the molecular and cellular levels.
  • HRS Contextual Data Resource (HRS-CDR)
    • The HRS-CDR consists of multiple data sets with measures of the social, economic, medical, physical, and built environments in which HRS respondents reside. The data are available at multiple geographies and across multiple years of the HRS survey period.
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