Data Sources

The MRDRC conducts various activities to facilitate access to valuable data resources. Below are links to various data sources and data analytic tools that are important for those interested in retirement and Social Security research and policy analysis.

  • Center for State and Local Government Excellence
    The Center for State and Local Government Excellence has made available two new sets of 2006 state pension data on its website: 1) For the first time, detailed defined contribution data are available for the 20 primary plans operated by state governments. 2) Defined benefit data are available for 126 plans largely administered by the state. These data will be updated annually and filled in for previous years.
  • Data Sources on the Impact of the 2008 Financial Crisis on the Economic Well-being of Older Americans
    This report, prepared in December 2009 by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics, summarizes the availability of data sponsored by federal agencies on the topic described in the title.
  • was launched in May 2009 “to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.”
  • New Immigrant Survey
    The New Immigrant Survey (NIS) is a nationally representative multi-cohort longitudinal study of new legal immigrants and their children to the United States based on nationally representative samples of the administrative records, compiled by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), pertaining to immigrants newly admitted to permanent residence.
  • Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being
    This Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics report provides the latest data on 37 key indicators that portray aspects of the lives of older Americans and their families. It is divided into five subject areas: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care.
  • Public Plans Database
    This free, interactive resource was developed in 2007 as a partnership between the Center for State and Local Government Excellence and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. The database contains plan-level data from 2001 to 2020 for 150 public pension plans, including 115 plans that are administered at the state level and 35 that are administered locally. PPD’s sample covers 90 percent of state and local government public pension membership and assets nationwide. The database is updated at least once a year, using data from the most recent comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) and actuarial valuations (AVs). In addition, intermediate updates occur when new variables are added or data errors are corrected.
  • Social Security Administration Public-Use Microdata Files
    SSA public-use microdata files include Benefits and Earnings Public-Use File, 2004; New Beneficiary Data System (NBDS); Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Public-Use Microdata File, 2001; and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Public-Use Microdata File, 2001
  • Health and Retirement Study (HRS)
    begun in 1992, and its companion study, AHEAD, conducts biennial surveys on aging and health.
  • RAND HRS data files
    The RAND HRS Data file is a cleaned and easy-to-use version of data from eleven waves of the Health and Retirement Study data, including five entry cohorts: the original 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; and Early Baby Boomer cohort entering in 2004. Derived variables covering a broad though not complete range of measures have been constructed. It includes RAND imputations of wealth, income, and medical expenditures. All variables have been named consistently across waves. It incorporates HRS data from 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010.
  • Corrected HRS Home Equity Data
    Second home equity is an important component of both housing equity and net worth for the elderly population. It has been covered, implicitly or explicitly, across all waves of HRS and AHEAD surveys. The treatment of second home equity, however, has not been consistent. Data problems that have arisen from this inconsistency are addressed and corrected in this file.
  • Health and Retirement Study – Apply for restricted access data
    Researchers may be eligible to receive HRS Restricted Datasets only if and when they meet specific requirements.
  • MiCDA Data Enclave
    The MiCDA Data Enclave The Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA) Data Enclave is designed to assist a) prospective users of restricted data files who do not meet the requirements imposed by restricted data contractual agreements and b) researchers who have special data analysis needs that cannot be met under the terms of a standard restricted data agreement.
  • Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)
    The PSID is a longitudinal survey of a representative sample of US individuals and the families in which they reside. It has been ongoing since 1968. The data were collected annually through 1997, and biennially starting in 1999. The data files contain the full span of information collected over the course of the study. PSID data can be used for cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intergenerational analysis and for studying both individuals and families.
  • Pension Estimation Program
    The program is design to estimate the pension entitlements held by respondents of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), based on the plan formulas and benefit provisions obtained from the linked sample of pension providers.
  • Survey of Income and Program Participation
    The main objective of SIPP is to provide accurate and comprehensive information about the income and program participation of individuals and households in the United States, and about the principal determinants of income and program participation. SIPP offers detailed information on cash and noncash income on a subannual basis. The survey also collects data on taxes, assets, liabilities, and participation in government transfer programs. SIPP data allow the government to evaluate the effectiveness of federal, state, and local programs.
  • Dynamics of Economic and Demographic Behavior: “Clean Processes” From the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)
    Lee Lillard created what he called “clean processes” to investigate a number of dynamic behaviors that are measured longitudinally in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), such as employment, marriage-divorce, and fertility. He and his programmers and research assistants put these processes into a consistent framework, and made decisions about how to resolve inconsistencies, missing items, etc. Data from the files can be entered, as appropriate, in dynamic econometric models of related and mutually causal processes: for instance, the relationships among marriage, fertility, and female labor supply. Thus, researchers can study various combinations of these behaviors without having to go through complex file creation for each project.
  • Current Population Survey
    The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey has been conducted for more than 70 years.
  • Consumer Expenditure Survey
    The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) program consists of two surveys—the quarterly Interview survey and the Diary survey—that provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.
  • Luxembourg Income Study (LIS)
    The LIS database is a collection of household income surveys. These surveys provide demographic, income and expenditure information on three different levels: household, person and child.
  • Stochastic Social Security Simulator
    S4-Stochastic Social Security Simulator is an online simulation of the Social Security Trust Fund which allows you to adjust tax rates, retirement ages, equities investment and other parameters.

Research Centers

University of Michigan Research Centers provides links to research centers at the University of Michigan that are conducting work that may be of interest for retirement policy and analysis.

  • Center for Political Studies (CPS)
    CPS analyzes interactions among institutions, political processes, and individuals.
  • Department of Economics
    The University of Michigan Department of Economics is known for research that applies economics to the challenging and important policy questions of the day.
  • Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured (ERIU)
    Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ERIU seeks to initiate, commission, and disseminate original research to spark new discussions on health coverage issues.
  • Ford School of Public Policy
    The Ford School conducts social science research to illuminate public policy issues and promote better public policy. It also provides education for leadership in public policy analysis and public management.
  • University of Michigan Geriatrics Center & Institute for Gerontology
    The University of Michigan Geriatrics Center provides multidisciplinary care to the older population, as well as educational opportunities to caregivers. Focusing on the aging process, the Institute of Gerontology is the Geriatric Center’s research arm.
  • Health and Retirement Study (HRS)
    The HRS surveys more than 26,000 Americans over the age of 50 every two years. Supported by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration, the HRS explores the changes in labor force participation and the health transitions that individuals undergo toward the end of their work lives and in the years that follow.
  • Institute for Social Research (ISR)
    Founded in 1948, the Institute for Social Research (ISR) is the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization. ISR’s survey studies include the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, Health & Retirement Study, National Survey of American Life, Monitoring the Future Study, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and World Values Survey.
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program
    ICPSR offers a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social methodology.
  • Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA)
    MiCDA, a joint program of the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center and the Survey Research Center, helps spur new research on the economics and demography of aging and encourages the use of major datasets in the field.
  • Population Studies Center (PSC)
    Established in 1961 at the Institute for Social Research, PSC is one of the oldest population centers in the United States. PSC is an interdisciplinary community of scholars in the field of population studies.
  • School of Public Health (SPH)
    The SPH creates and disseminates knowledge regarding disease prevention and health promotion in U.S. and world populations, and promotes integrated approaches to solving public health problems.
  • Survey Research Center (SRC)
    The largest center within the Institute for Social Research, SRC focuses on interdisciplinary social science research involving the collection or analysis of data from scientific sample surveys.

Personal Retirement

The following links may be useful to individuals seeking more information about personal retirement issues and retirement planning.