The UAS Health and Retirement project in the Understanding America Study follows a panel study conducted by the University of Michigan. That undertaking, the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), administers a series of surveys to approximately 20,000 Americans over the age of 50 every two years. The UAS conducts the same series of surveys, but with some key differences:
- While the HRS surveys are designed for face-to-face interviews, the UAS surveys have been made more amenable to a self-administered web survey.
- The UAS administers its surveys to every participant, not just those aged 50 and older.
- UAS participants are invited to answer the series of surveys every two years, like the HRS, but respondents take the surveys at different times, dependent upon when they completed the previous HRS series.
The UAS Health and Retirement surveys cover a wide range of ground including (but not limited to) physical health, cognitive functioning, disability, family structure, work, income, assets, pension plans, health insurance, and health care expenditures. For the baseline surveys (surveys filled out by UAS respondents the first time round) the content is drawn from the HRS 2014 surveys. Surveys conducted consecutively every two years are based on the corresponding year within the University of Michigan's study (e.g. 2016 for the second wave of the surveys and 2081 for the third wave of surveys).
Below are the waves that have been administered in the UnderStanding America Study. To learn more about a wave, please use the links below: