CDC en Español

National Center for Health Statistics  Monitoring the Nation's Health

Aging Activities

  • Email this page

Longitudinal Studies of Aging logo
1984 Supplement on Aging



Survey Description

The Supplement on Aging (SOA) is a collaborative effort of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the National Institute on Aging (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

The SOA data are available on CD-ROM: The 1984 National Health Interview Survey, Series 10, No. 16H (issued July 2001). This CD-ROM also includes data obtained during the 1984 NHIS interview and all related documentation. Details are provided below. To request a copy of this CD-ROM, email or telephone (301) 458-INFO.


The CD-ROM contains the following microdata files in ASCII format:


Data File (\directory\filename.file type) Content Description
\DATA\HOUSEHLD.ASC Household Level Data
\DATA\PERSONSX.ASC Person Level Data
\DATA\CONDITON.ASC Condition Level Data
\DATA\DRVISITX.ASC Doctor Visit Level Data
\DATA\HOSPITAL.ASC Hospital Level Data
\DATA\HEALTHIN.ASC Health Insurance Supplement Data
\DATA\SOAGECON.ASC Supplement on Aging - Condition Data
\DATA\SOAGEPER.ASC Supplement on Aging - Person Data


These files may be read by standard data analysis software packages such as SAS or SPSS.


In addition, the CD-ROM includes associated survey documentation files in Portable Document Format (PDF):


Documentation File
(\directory\filename.file type)

Content Description

\FILEDOC\NHCORE84.PDF Core Questionnaire Documentation - Part I
\FILEDOC\FRMANL84.PDF Interviewer's Manual - Part II
\FILEDOC\MEDMAN84.PDF Medical Coding Manual - Part III
\FILEDOC\CUREST84.PDF Current Estimates
\FILEDOC\DSGN7583.PDF Design and Estimation for NHIS
\FILEDOC\HEALTH84.PDF Health Insurance Supplement
\FILEDOC\SOACPF84.PDF Supplement on Aging-Condition File
\FILEDOC\SOAPUF84.PDF Supplement on Aging-Person File


These files require the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 4.0 or greater to be viewed. A Windows version of the Acrobat Reader software is enclosed with this CD-ROM and may be installed on individual computers using one of the following files:

(\directory\filename.file type)
\ACROBAT\AR16E301.EXE Acrobat Reader for Windows 3.x
\ACROBAT\AR405ENG.EXE Acrobat Reader for Windows NT/95


Related Reports and the SOA Questionnaire

A detailed description of the survey is published in reports of the Vital and Health Statistics, Series 1, Number 21.


SOA Questionnaire

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



Page Last Modified: July 31, 2008

Our Links

Quick Links


National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Safer Healthier People

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
Tel: (404) 639-3311 / Public Inquiries: (404) 639-3534 / (800) 311-3435