Research: Funded Research

Enhancing Retrospective Life History Data in the Health and Retirement Study: Administrative Supplement

Employment histories provide new insights into societal, historical, subgroup, and idiosyncratic factors that contribute to late-life outcomes. We collected details about the job titles and industries from a subsample of HRS participants in 2017 in a retrospective life history self-administered mail survey. This supplement will assist us to deal with an issue we became aware of regarding the coding of participants’ employment histories. Specifically, the coding strategy proposed initially is not ideal. Originally, we wrote: “Occupation and industry will be coded using the Census scheme corresponding to the one used at the time the respondents entered HRS.” Instead, we now propose to code the occupation and industry histories using the Census 2010 codes which HRS has applied since 2010. This system covers 500+ occupations, 190 of which are represented in the HRS. Using the same 2010 Census classifications, we also propose to recode 1992 occupation and industry data for the estimated 37% of the 2017 subsample who first entered HRS in that wave (cohort born 1931-1941). Paper-and-pencil cards containing these descriptions have been archived from the 1992 HRS wave. The occupation codes in waves of the HRS collected in 1992 were coded according to Census classifications that have since been revised to reflect the changes in the U.S. occupational structure that have occurred during the last two decades. These employment histories will be disseminated in several user-friendly HRS life history public and restricted data products.

Funding:

Health and Human Services, Department of-National Institutes of Health

Funding Period:

09/15/2017 to 05/31/2019