UM21-Q5: Extending RAND HRS Poverty Measures to Earlier HRS Waves



The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is the primary data set in the U.S. for the study of the well-being of the older population. A common indicator of material hardship used in research and in the administration of various government programs is poverty status. A household is considered “in poverty” according to federal guidelines if household income is less than a certain threshold, where the threshold depends on household composition and the age of the householder. To facilitate research, the RAND HRS Longitudinal File provides poverty measures for HRS waves 2002 and onward. We propose to derive these measures for the earlier HRS waves (1992-2000). Over that time period the HRS survey instrument had not yet reached its steady-state design. This project will pay special attention to examining cross-wave differences in relevant survey items with the objective to produce poverty measures and related variables that maintain longitudinal consistency as much as possible.

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