Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement, 1952-1958 [United States] (ICPSR 29223)
Principal Investigator(s): Streib, Gordon, Cornell University
Summary: The Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement is a national, longitudinal study of retirement that began in 1952 and was likely the first large-scale study of retirement behavior. The study aimed to understand and follow the transition from work to retirement -- a quite "well-defined" life transition in the 1950s. The study followed a cohort of 64 year old workers into their retirement years. Over the course of the 6-year study, over 50 percent of the respondents retired. The survey... (more info)
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Streib, Gordon. Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement, 1952-1958 [United States]. ICPSR29223-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-09-13. doi:10.3886/ICPSR29223.v1
Persistent URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR29223.v1
This survey was funded by:
- Lilly Endowment, Inc.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health
- United States Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Public Health and Science
Scope of Study
The Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement is a national, longitudinal study of retirement that began in 1952 and was likely the first large-scale study of retirement behavior. The study aimed to understand and follow the transition from work to retirement -- a quite "well-defined" life transition in the 1950s. The study followed a cohort of 64 year old workers into their retirement years. Over the course of the 6-year study, over 50 percent of the respondents retired. The survey includes a wide range of questions about: sociodemographic characteristics, family, daily activities, work (type of work and work satisfaction), economic status (income, homeownership, and household size), pensions, age identity, age stereotypes, retirement plans, health, life satisfaction and adjustment to the retirement transition.
Unique features of the study include: 1) Gender. Men and women were included. Much of our current understanding of retirement behavior mid-century (and even into the 1970s) is based on men's experiences. The Cornell Study includes female workers, both unmarried and married. 2) Longitudinal Design. Most retirement studies at that point in history were small-scale and cross-sectional. 3) Health Information. In addition to self-reported health information from the respondents, medical directors at the sampled companies were interviewed and asked to conduct a standardized physical examination of the employees in the sample -- the medical records on the respondents have been retained. These data are in hard-copy paper format. Thus, it appears that no meaningful analysis of the data has yet been conducted.
Geographic Coverage: United States
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: individual
Data Types: clinical data, survey data
Data Collection Notes:
This data collection includes 52 boxes of unprocessed punch cards and 7 filing cabinets of hard-copy documentation (codebooks, data collection instruments, final reports, publications, and correspondence). No data files are currently available for online dissemination.
As of September 2010, ICPSR is reviewing the study materials to assess data recovery. Researchers knowledgeable about or interested in the collection are encouraged to contact ICPSR directly.
Sample: Study participants were born between the years of 1887 and 1889 and were 64 years old when first interviewed in 1952. The sampling strategy was built mainly around selecting companies classified in the United States Census across the range of industrial classifications and interviewing all age-eligible employees in selected companies. Companies with more than 1,000 employees were selected for the study and all 64 year olds at the company were interviewed. In addition, to better represent white collar and professional workers, several federal, state, and city/county agencies were included in the sample, as were several school systems and a doctors' sample from New York state. Thus, the sample is a hybrid of a stratified sample supplemented with additional interviews to get at harder to study occupations. In total, 259 organizations were included in the study. In 1952, 4,032 participants began the study. Most interviews were conducted face-to-face in 1952. Although the study does not provide a representative sample, it includes a large, diverse and geographically comprehensive sample of the American labor force in 1952. The first follow-up interview was conducted 12 to 18 months after the first interview. The second follow-up interview was conducted in 1955/1956, and two additional follow-up interviews were conducted in 1957 and in 1958. Follow-up response rates (for those still living) ranged from 88 percent to 95 percent.
Mode of Data Collection: face-to-face interview
Original ICPSR Release: 2010-09-13
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