The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) is a longitudinal survey of people aged 45 and older and their partners, living in private households in China. Its main goal is to provide a data resource on health and socioeconomic status as older adults age. The survey elicits information about demographics, family structure, health, health care use and costs, job status and history, income, assets, and housing.
The CHARLS sample is a nationally representative sample of the population aged 45 years and older, living in private households in China. The sample also has urban/rural representation. The initial sample was recruited in 2011/12 using a stratified, multistage probability sampling of households in all county-level units except for Tibet.
|Age Eligibility||Age 45 and older|
|People Interviewed per Household||One person per household|
|Spouse Inclusion||Spouse of any age|
|Representativeness||Nationally and urban/rural representative|
|Institutional Representation||Respondents followed into institutions|
The CHARLS core interview is carried out every two years through Wave 4, and every three years thereafter through face-to-face interviews using computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) since 2011. (Note: Waves 1, 2, 4, 5 (2011, 2013, 2015, 2018) are Core Interviews ; Wave 3 (2014) is a Life History Interview)
In addition to the core interview, CHARLS also collects a number of other types of data.
|End of Life Interview||Conducted at Wave 2 with someone knowledgeable about deceased respondents.|
|Life History Interview||Conducted at Wave 3 for all respondents.|
|Health Assessment||Conducted at Waves 1, 2, and 4 for all respondents.|
|Blood-Based Biomarkers||Venous blood was drawn at Waves 1 and 4 for all respondents via qualified nurse assessment.|
|Cognitive Assessment||The Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP) was conducted at Wave 5 on respondents aged 60 and older.|
The CHARLS Wave 1 sample included 12,740 selected households. Since then, the CHARLS sample has been refreshed at waves 2 and 4. When a refreshment sample is drawn, households are selected for CHARLS from the initial probability sample if they have a newly age-eligible respondent that was not eligible at Wave 1.
Public access CHARLS data can be downloaded from the National School of Development, Peking University. Data are anonymized and only require registration with the National School of Development.
National School of Development, Peking University
The Gateway to Global Aging Data has created a user-friendly dataset based on CHARLS data designed to allow researchers to conduct cross-wave and cross-study analysis.
|Harmonized CHARLS||A dataset of research-ready variables derived from the core interviews and health assessments of Waves 1-4.||Download via CHARLS website|
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