Representativeness of the Low-Income Population in the Health and Retirement Study

Published in: The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Volume 9 (June 2017), Pages 90-99. doi: 10.1016/j.jeoa.2016.08.004

by Erik Meijer, Lynn A. Karoly

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We study to what extent the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is representative of all income groups, but with a particular emphasis on low-income groups. To focus on the HRS sample composition and abstract from potential measurement issues associated with measures of income, we exploit the SSA administrative data matched to the HRS sample and compare the distribution of the matched SSA variables against the distribution of the same variables for the same population in the SSA databases. Overall, the HRS is representative for the population it covers. However, for some subgroups in the low-income population, there are some differences.

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