Aging in the Eighties: America in Transition, 1981 (ICPSR 8691)

Principal Investigator(s): National Council on the Aging


This survey was undertaken to record changes in views about aging among older people as well as younger adults. In the seven years after the benchmark study MYTH AND REALITY OF AGING, 1974 (ICPSR 7657) was conducted, a number of significant social and demographic changes occurred in American society, some profound economic trends continued, suspicions grew about an impending financial crisis in the Social Security system, and new priorities emerged at both the national and local political levels. AGING IN THE EIGHTIES updates topics from MYTH AND REALITY OF AGING with items relating to the experience of aging, social activities and the involvement of the elderly, expectations and attitudes about retirement, and preparation for retirement. Other major issues were explored for the first time, including the economics of aging and retirement, the changing face of retirement and employment after 65, Social Security and the role of government, health status, and health care.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging

    This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), the aging program within ICPSR. NACDA is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH).


Dataset - Download All Files (14.02 MB)
SAS    SPSS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   

Study Description


National Council on the Aging. Aging in the Eighties: America in Transition, 1981. ICPSR08691-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • Atlantic Richfield Foundation
  • Equitable Life Assurance Company of the United States
  • Exxon Corporation
  • Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company
  • Levi Strauss Foundation
  • Bankers Life and Casualty Company

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    aging, attitudes, economic conditions, economic trends, expectations, health status, income, medical care, older adults, perceptions, retirement, retirement adjustment, retirement planning, Social Security

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1981

Date of Collection:   

  • 1981-06-15--1981-07-31

Universe:    Americans aged 18 years and over.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The data contain blanks. (2) The sample of 3,452 includes N = 1,098 persons ages 18-54, N = 492 ages 55-64, N = 675 ages 65-69, N = 845 ages 70-79, and N = 317 ages 80 and over. The total sample contains N = 2,482 white, N = 491 Black, and N = 454 Hispanic persons.


Sample:    This data collection employed a multistage random cluster sampling procedure. The total number of 3,452 interviewed persons was drawn from two national cross-sectional samples, an oversample of persons aged 55 to 64 drawn from one of the two national samples, an oversample of persons 65 years and over from two other national samples, and oversamples of Hispanic and Black populations drawn from special stratified multistage cluster national samples.

Data Source:

personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1988-01-06

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 1998-05-11 SAS data definition statements have been provided for this collection. Also, the SPSS data definition statements were replaced and the codebook and questionnaire were converted to PDF files.

Related Publications



Metadata Exports

If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.

Download Statistics