1984 Supplement on Aging (SOA)

Survey Description

The Supplement on Aging (SOA) is a collaborative effort of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the National Institute on AgingExternal (NIA). The study was conducted by NCHS as a supplement to the 1984 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The sample is comprised of 16,148 NHIS participants 55 years of age and over and is nationally representative of the 1984 U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population in that age group. Data were obtained through personal interviews in the household, collected by U.S. Census Bureau interviewers.

The objectives of the SOA were:

  • to characterize the health and social status of people 55 years of age and over in the United States,
  • to provide information about how psychosocial and environmental factors interact with health factors to influence the aging individual,
  • to provide a knowledge base for investigating issues of prevention and postponement of disability and dependency and for framing research questions and hypotheses on the interplay between changing home environments and the aging individual,
  • to delineate issues and data for research on the enhancement of care, social support, and coping for those older people who do become disabled,
  • to provide information about factors that influence individuals’ ability to live independently in the community as they grow older, and
  • to form the basis for a prospective study, the Longitudinal Study of Aging.

Data File Contents

The SOA data file contains information collected from multiple sources: the 1984 NHIS, the 1984 Health Insurance Supplement, and the SOA. Below is an overview of data file variables at a glance:

1984 National Health Interview Survey

  • Demographic characteristics (including age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, veteran status, major activity, education, and family income)
  • Limitation of activities (long term)
  • Restriction of activities (2 weeks)
  • Bed-days (previous year and 2 weeks)
  • Chronic conditions and impairments (long term)
  • Acute conditions (2 weeks)
  • Doctor visits (previous year and 2 weeks)
  • Hospital stays and days (previous years)

1984 Health Insurance Supplement

  • Health insurance coverage for hospital care and doctor visits
  • Whether insurance is public or private
  • Receipt of Medicaid, military retirement, Veteran’s Administration pensions, and eligibility for veteran’s medical care and disability compensation

1984 Supplement on Aging

  • Family structure and living arrangements
  • Housing characteristics
  • Relationships and social contacts
  • Use of community services
  • Occupation and retirement (income sources)
  • Health conditions and impairments
  • Activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)
  • Who provided help with ADLs and IADLs
  • Utilization of health services, nursing home stays
  • Health opinions

Geographic Coverage

The SOA sample is representative of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population 55 years of age and over in 1984. Geographic indicators include the four major census regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West), type of primary sampling unit (based on 1970 census), and SMSA/Non-SMSA residence status.

Data Availability

Related Reports and the SOA Questionnaire

Reports Containing Detailed Description of Survey

SOA Questionnaire

  • Supplement on Aging to the 1984 National Health Interview Survey Appendix II (pages 51-69)
    PDF VersionCdc-pdf (2.6 MB)

Page last reviewed: November 6, 2015