Research on Aging

The research agenda of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging focuses on the relationships among institutional and socioeconomic factors, health, and financial well-being among the elderly. Most projects engage in secondary data analysis; some design, field, and analyze original surveys. The Center's Data Management and Computing Core aims to make primary data and extensive documentation publicly available free of charge.

Alzheimer's Disease and Dementias

Dementia causes serious loss of cognitive ability, including memory, communication and language, reason and judgment, and visual perception. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form, but all dementias go beyond the normal signs of aging to interfere with daily life, affecting millions of people each year. RAND experts analyze long-term care options and effectiveness, as well as how dementia impacts caregivers, society, and the economy.


Adults caring for elderly parents, parents caring for children with special needs, family members and friends caring for veterans: Americans spend billions of hours each year providing emotional and physical support to their loved ones. RAND research explores the effects of caregiving duties on these individuals, how policy addresses their needs, and the broader social and economic impact of caregiving on people, communities, and organizations.


The study of populations and their effects on energy and the environment has become increasingly important to both the private sector and government. RAND demographers—experts in fields such as economics, statistics, mathematics, epidemiology, population and migration, and labor markets—conduct multidisciplinary, policy-relevant research and host annual conferences and demography workshops to help solve real-world problems, among them the impacts of a growing, and aging, global population


RAND's work on disability aims to better understand the social and economic causes and consequences of disability in the United States throughout the life course. Research themes include examining the roles of employers; health care, social service, and long-term care providers; knowledge networks and social insurance programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

End-of-Life Care

Individuals with a terminal illness, and the caregivers in their families, face many challenging questions, and the health care they receive can vary widely. For practitioners and policymakers seeking to better understand end-of-life care concerns, RAND researchers address a range of pertinent topics, including quality of care, costs, patient preferences, pain management, best practices, treatment disparities, and access requirements.

Financial Security for Older Populations

Changes in the U.S. economy and the population have led to concerns that people are not able to retire as planned, or those newly retiring will be at increased risk of being poor in old age. Pension benefits, particularly defined benefit pensions, have decreased, while income, wealth dispersion, and mortality differentials among older persons have widened even as life expectancy has increased. As a result, older Americans increasingly face the risk of not saving enough, depleting their savings, and entering poverty, before death or at advanced ages. Economic shocks due to large out-of-pocket (OOP) medical expenditures exacerbate these risks. RAND’s research explores the impacts of these changes to the financial security of an aging population, with the goal of helping to inform decisionmakers in the policy process.

Long Term Care

More than 12 million Americans depend on long-term care for help with everyday activities such as bathing or dressing. This group includes veterans and people with disabilities, but it is primarily comprised of seniors. Thus, the number will likely soar as the baby boom generation ages. RAND research on long-term care can help health providers and policymakers meet the growing demand for high-quality, affordable car

Retirement and Retirement Benefits

Retirement and the provision of pensions and retirement benefits impact individuals, the private sector, community services, and nationalized health systems like Medicare. RAND has made policy-relevant contributions in developing and developed nations in the area of retirement research, including modeling future retirement trends, analyzing the determinants and health impacts of retirement, and understanding retirement consumption behavior.

Social Security

RAND's work on Social Security examines issues including the effects of potential cuts in benefits, how immigrant communities contribute to and access Social Security benefits, and the impact of health care reform on disability claims.