Aging & Retirement
Population Health
Poverty & Inequality

Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

  • SRC
Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

Project Summary

The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a nationally representative longitudinal survey of adults over age 50 in the U.S. HRS also enrolls spouses or partners of any age. The study began in 1992 and in 1998 instituted a steady-state design, enrolling a new birth cohort every six years. About 20,000 respondents are now surveyed biennially in the core interview. The HRS is supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA U01AG009740) and the Social Security Administration. Through its unique and in-depth interviews, the HRS provides an invaluable and growing body of free multidisciplinary data that researchers can use to address important questions about the challenges and opportunities of aging. Innovation in survey design and content is a hallmark of the HRS. In addition to core survey content on health and health insurance, employment and retirement, income and wealth, and family connections, HRS data includes psychosocial functioning, genetics, physical performance, and biomarkers from venous blood. In addition, HRS has contributed to building an infrastructure for cross national comparisons by serving as the model for a network of studies of aging around the world with harmonized content. Leveraging this infrastructure, the HRS launched the Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP) in 2016, collaborating and harmonizing with multiple international partners to establish an international data resource to better understand and compare the causes, consequences, and trends in dementia in the U.S. and around the world. HRS data has served as the foundation for over 2,500 peer-reviewed journal articles by over 1,000 different authors and co-authors. Over 500 graduate students have based their Master's thesis or PhD dissertation on HRS data, and the data have been used in more than 800 working papers and 200 books and book chapters.


National Institute on Aging


  • David R. Weir

Project Period

1990-01-01 - 2025-12-31