The Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

The University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (HRS; NIA U01AG009740) surveys more than 20,000 Americans over the age of 50 every two years. Since its launch in 1992, the study has collected information about income, work, assets, pension plans, health insurance, disability, physical health and functioning, cognitive functioning, and health care expenditures.

Data Collection
The HRS is a longitudinal survey of adults aged 50 and older that began in 1992. The original HRS sample consisted of 12,652 individuals born between 1931 and 1941. The HRS was merged with the Assets and Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) study in 1998, with the Children of Depression and War Baby cohorts in 1998; and Early Baby Boomer cohort in 2004. New cohorts are added every six years. The HRS observational unit is an eligible household financial unit (uncoupled individuals and couples) that must include at least one age-eligible member. Interviews are conducted by telephone or in-person. Beginning in 2012, HRS began adding genetic information from consenting participants to its database.


HRS began biomarker collection in 2006 during face-to-face interviews conducted in a random half of the sample. They were collected from the other half of the sample in 2008. In 2010 the first half of the sample were asked to provide biomarker data for a second time and in 2012 the second half of the sample provided biomarker data for the second time.

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