RAND HRS Longitudinal File 2020 (V2)

The RAND HRS Longitudinal File is a cleaned, easy-to-use, and streamlined data product containing information from Core and Exit Interviews of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), with derived variables covering a large range of topics. It contains variables on demographics, health, health insurance, Social Security, pensions, family structure, retirement plans, expectations, and employment history, as well as imputations for income, assets, and medical expenditures developed at RAND. All variables are named and derived consistently across survey years, and any cross-wave differences are documented.

Every individual who has ever completed an HRS Core Interview has a record in this file. As such, the RAND HRS Longitudinal File meets the essential needs of many research projects; however, we note that although the file contains a rich subset of information from the Core and Exit Interviews, it is not exhaustive. In cases where researchers cannot find all variables they need, the file can easily be merged with other RAND HRS data products, as well as those released separately by our HRS colleagues at the University of Michigan.

The RAND HRS Longitudinal File 2020 (V2) includes fifteen waves of Core Interview data across seventeen survey years (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and biennially 1996–2020) as well as Exit Interview data across fifteen survey years (1994, 1995, and biennially 1996–2020). The file also encompasses all seven entry cohorts: the initial 1992 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cohort; the 1993 Study of Assets and Health Dynamics (AHEAD) cohort; the Children of Depression and War Baby cohorts entering in 1998; the Early Baby Boomer cohort entering in 2004; the Mid Baby Boomer cohort entering in 2010; and the Late Baby Boomer cohort entering in 2016.

To access the data:

  • All HRS and RAND HRS data products are available at: https://hrsdata.isr.umich.edu/data-products/rand.
  • The RAND HRS Longitudinal File 2020 (V2) can be found in the "Longitudinal and Cross-Wave Data Products" section.
  • You will be able to see the data descriptions and documentation without an account, but you will need to register with HRS to access the data.
  • User note: This is a new data downloads system as of September 1st, 2020. If you have an account on the old system but have not created a new account since September 1st, 2020, you will need to create a new account. You can use the same email address as your previous account. (You will not need to create a new account if you have used this system to apply for or manage an HRS Restricted Data Agreement since November 2019.)
  • Once your account is active and you have logged in, you will be able to see the data download links for each RAND HRS data product (and other public HRS data products).

For more detailed information, please see the following documents:

RAND HRS Longitudinal File Codebook (PDF) HRS Weights Explained (PDF Download from hrsonline.isr.umich.edu) Help Using RAND HRS Data Products FAQ

Helpful Resources

For more information, questions or comments please see our FAQ or email us at RANDHRSHelp@rand.org.

Before doing so, however, we kindly request that users first consult the documentation that accompanies our data products, as we have found that our responses often point users to specific sections of the documentation that provide further detail on the variables mentioned in the users’ queries.

In addition, we recommend that users become familiar with some of the information provided on the HRS website, such as the HRS questionnaires and codebooks for the key variables under study.

We have also found the concordance tool extremely useful to help find available variables across waves:

More resources for users