National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), [United States], 2011-2017 (ICPSR 37107)

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; University of Michigan


This is an external resource to which ICPSR links as a courtesy. These data are not available from ICPSR. Users should consult the data owners (via National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), [United States], 2011-2017) directly for details on obtaining these resources.

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The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) began in 2011 and fosters research to guide efforts to reduce disability, maximize health and independent functioning, and enhance quality of life at older ages. NHATS aims to provide the basis for understanding trends in late-life functioning, how these differ for various population subgroups, and the economic and social consequences of aging and disability for individuals, families, and society.

NHATS gathers information on a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older. The sample is refreshed periodically so that researchers may study national-level disability trends as well as individual trajectories. Annual, in-person interviews collect detailed information on the disablement process and its consequences.

The NHATS interview is guided by a conceptual framework that recognizes physical and cognitive capacity is distinct from the environment in which activities take place. Among the specific content areas included are: the physical, social, technological and service environment, physical and cognitive capacity, use of assistive devices and rehabilitation, help received with daily activities (self-care, household, and medical), participation in valued activities, and wellbeing. A last month of life interview focuses on quality of end of life care. Periodically caregivers of NHATS respondents are interviewed in the supplemental National Study of Caregiving (NSOC). Linkages to Medicare records are also available.

Content was developed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the fields of demography, geriatric medicine, epidemiology, health services research, economics, and gerontology. NHATS is being led by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in collaboration with the University of Michigan, with data collection by Westat, and support from the National Institute on Aging.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging

2011 -- 2017
  1. These data are not available from ICPSR. Users should consult the data owners directly for details on obtaining the data and documentation. Please visit the NHATS website for more information.

NHATS provides in-depth information on late-life functioning and allows researchers to better understand reasons for disability trends and dynamics. It also supports investigations of how individuals adapt to changes in physical, cognitive, and sensory capacity and the consequences of disablement for wellbeing.

The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) was designed to follow successive nationally representative cohorts of persons ages 65 and older and enrolled in Medicare. Round 1 of the study was fielded in 2011; in Round 5 (2015) the sample was replenished. The design includes oversamples of individuals at older ages and those whose race is listed as Black on the CMS enrollment file.


Individuals enrolled in Medicare aged 65 and older.