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National Survey of Problems Facing Elderly Americans Living Alone, 1986

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Davis, Karen
  • The Commonwealth Fund Commission on Elderly People Living Alone
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • Commonwealth Fund
Free Keywords
health care; health insurance; health status; living arrangements; needs assessment; older adults
  • Abstract

    This survey was designed to obtain a clear picture of the resources, problems, needs, and preferences of the eight million elderly Americans who live alone. The questions cover not only living arrangements and demographic information, but also economic well-being, health, health care, health insurance, difficulties and fears, need for help, obtaining help, and opinions on policies that have been proposed on the behalf of the elderly. The living arrangements of those in the sample fell into three categories: approximately 30 percent lived alone, 54 percent lived with spouses, and 16 percent lived with children or others. The sample included 903 widowed women over age 65. Comparable data on a Hispanic American sample, who were interviewed with the same questionnaire, are available in NATIONAL SURVEY OF HISPANIC ELDERLY LIVING ALONE, 1988 (ICPSR 9289).
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Standardized missing values.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Dataset
    • DS2: Frequencies File
Temporal Coverage
  • 1986-06 / 1986-07
    Time period: 1986-06--1986-07
  • 1986-06-11 / 1986-07-31
    Collection date: 1986-06-11--1986-07-31
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Noninstitutionalized elderly persons in the continental United States.
Random digit dialing of approximately 23,000 telephone numbers nationwide was used to locate and interview a representative cross-sectional sample of 2,002 persons aged 65 and over. This was supplemented by an oversample of 504 additional persons aged 75 and over. All data in the survey are weighted by sex, age, race, education, region, and living arrangements to conform with the 1985 Census Bureau estimates.
Collection Mode
  • Age distribution of the sample is 65-69 (N = 798), 70-74 (N = 530), 75-79 (N = 667), 80-84 (N = 330), and 85+ (N = 154). Racial distribution is White (N = 2,240) and Black (N = 160).

Funding insitution(s): Commonwealth Fund (#9030).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 9379 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09379.v1
  • Angel, Jacqueline L., Angel, Ronald J.. Aging trends - Mexican Americans in the Southwestern USA. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology.13, (3), 281-290.1998.
    • ID: 10.1023/A:1006505814367 (DOI)
  • Burnette, Denise, Mui, Ada C.. Psychological well-being among three successive cohorts of older American women who live alone. Journal of Women and Aging.8, (1), 63 -1996.
    • ID: 10.1300/J074v08n01_07 (DOI)
  • Taylor, Humphrey, Kagay, Michael, Leichenko, Stuart. Problems Facing Elderly Americans Living Alone: A National Survey. New York: Louis Harris and Associates [producer], Commonwealth Fund Commission on Elderly People Living Alone [distributor]. 1987.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Davis, Karen; The Commonwealth Fund Commission on Elderly People Living Alone (1991): National Survey of Problems Facing Elderly Americans Living Alone, 1986. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.