For more than 20 years, the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) has been a leading source for information on the health and economic circumstances of adults age 50 and older in the United States. Since its launch in 1992, HRS has painted a detailed portrait of America's older adults including health, insurance coverage, financial situations, family support systems, work decisions, and retirement well-being.
We do this by asking select individuals to participate in the study and tell us about their lives. This information has been used by scientists to publish over 2,500 books, articles and papers. This website provides more information about the study, including links to news articles about these HRS research findings, and links to external sites related to retirement and aging. We hope you will find it interesting and informative.
As the world around us changes, from changes in the country’s economic status, to the housing markets in our neighborhoods and even the type of health care coverage we might expect to have in the future, the HRS helps provide a picture of the needs and experiences of Americans across the country.
The HRS is a longitudinal project sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA U01AG009740) and the Social Security Administration. The study director is Dr. David R. Weir of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.
What does it mean if we ask you to participate?
If you are asked and agree to participate, you will be part of a large scientific sample that represents thousands of other people across the country. Getting older for most of us is a process of slow changes. We want to keep up with you and the changes in your life, so we will stay in touch with you as life goes on. Participating in the study is a valuable way that you contribute to understanding the issues we are all facing.
You may be asked to complete an interview by phone or in person or to complete a mail or on-line survey. You also may be asked to perform some physical tasks or provide a sample of blood or saliva. A typical interview should take one to two hours. For your help in this study, you will receive a monetary token of appreciation.
If you agree to participate, your identity as a participant and any personally identifying information you provide will be kept confidential. We follow strict practices to maintain the security of all data that could identify participants.
Participation in this study is completely voluntary. For most people, the survey is interesting and enjoyable.
What if I have questions about HRS?
If you have any questions about the study, please contact the University of Michigan, Survey Research Center at:
Toll Free: 1-866-611-6476
Questions about the rights of research participants in general?
If you have questions about research participant rights, or wish to obtain information, ask questions or discuss concerns about this study other than the researchers, please contact:
University of Michigan
Health Sciences and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board
2800 Plymouth Road
Building 520, Room 1169
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800
Phone: (734) 936-0933 or toll free, (866) 936-0933