Retirement History Longitudinal Survey, 1979 (ICPSR 8344)
Principal Investigator(s): Social Security Administration
This longitudinal study is the last in a series of six surveys conducted to investigate the nature of retirement and the transition to a retirement lifestyle in the United States. The first longitudinal study to concentrate on the process of retirement and to include change over a period of time as an object of study, the six surveys in the Retirement History Longitudinal Survey (RHLS) aimed at learning in detail the connections between worklife characteristics, retirement timing, and the determinants of style, quality, and conduct of retirement. With the 1969 study as a baseline, this study, along with subsequent biennial studies since 1969, record the retirement process as it developed. To provide information on pre-retirement lives and attitudes of respondents, questions were asked regarding labor force history, retirement and retirement plans, health, household, family and social activities, income, assets, and debts for respondents and their spouses. Detailed information is provided on the sources and size of income and assets, as well as debts. Questions also focussed on retirement patterns and determinants of retirement timing, especially the relationship between pre-retirement income and expected post-retirement income. Also examined was the influence exerted by health, anticipated post-retirement needs and resources, employer policies, and significant work history. Labor force questions covered the respondents' occupation and attitude toward that occupation, number of hours worked, salary, unemployment, and job-seeking behavior. Information on retirement plans included whether and when the respondents planned to retire, reasons for retirement, whether they had made retirement plans, such as moving residences or working, expected expenses and resources, and subjective attitudes toward retirement. Respondents who were already partially or fully retired were asked to report retrospectively on retirement age, reasons for retirement, and whether they had planned for retirement prior to actually retiring. Questions on health experience pertained to the calendar year prior to the interview, and included receipts and costs of physical examinations and dentist visits, hospitalization, prescription and non-prescription medicines, other medical supplies and services, health insurance coverage and other resources for payment of medical expenses, and a measure of the respondent's own physical health. Questions were also asked concerning leisure activities, socialization, proximity and frequency of contact with close relatives, and receipt of financial support from relatives. Information on food and housing, property ownership, and transportation was also gathered to provide a measure of changes in retirement lifestyle. Demographic items specify race, sex, age, marital status, education, income, benefits amount, assets, debts, number of children and children attending school, and household composition and relationship. Of the 7,352 cases contained in the data file, 1,082 cases represent interviews with surviving spouses of the original respondents who died after the initial 1969 survey.
Social Security Administration. RETIREMENT HISTORY LONGITUDINAL SURVEY, 1979. Conducted by U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census/Social Security Administration, Office of Research and Statistics. 2nd ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 1985. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08344.v2
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08344.v2
Scope of Study
Subject Terms: health insurance, health status, job history, life plans, older workers, pension plans, personal finances, retirees, retirement, retirement adjustment, retirement income, retirement planning, social life, Social Security
Geographic Coverage: United States
Date of Collection:
Universe: Men of all marital status categories in the United States born between 1905-1911, or aged 58-63 as of March 1, 1969. Women born between 1905-1911 without husbands were also included in the universe.
Data Types: survey data
Sample: National multistage probability sample. The first (1969) wave used the same sampling frame as that applied by the United States Bureau of the Census for the Current Population Survey (CPS). Sample members were persons who lived in households that had participated in CPS before February 1969. In subsequent waves, attempts were made to locate and reinterview original respondents. If the original respondent had died in the intervening period, a full interview was conducted with the surviving spouse, where applicable. To qualify as a surviving spouse, an individual must have been married to and living with the original respondent at the time of the previous interview and not have remarried. Interviews were conducted biennially through 1979 when sample members reached ages 68-73.
- Performed consistency checks.
- Standardized missing values.
- Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
Original ICPSR Release: 1985-03-15
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