The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) is a multidisciplinary open cohort study that features an extensive range of data from a representative sample of men and women living in England who are aged 50 and over.
Since the inception of the study in 2002, the ELSA sample has been re-surveyed biennially. Understanding the complex dynamics of the ageing process is made possible in ELSA owing to the availability of these repeated measures of economic circumstances, behaviour, lifestyle and social connections in the same individuals over time. These measures are important in their own right but may also infl uence health, mortality, retirement and well-being. Findings from the study therefore have utility in informing policy and improving the lives of older adults.
The data from this study are freely available to investigators, providing a valuable resource for academic researchers involved in economics, public health, epidemiology and social science disciplines. This report describes analyses of data that have been collected in all waves of ELSA, particularly the seventh and most recent that took place in 2014–15. In wave 7, data collection included a standard face-to-face interview and a self-completion questionnaire, both of which have been used in previous waves of the study. Included in this report is a detailed set of results from cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the ELSA data, which include information on demographics, disability, health, income, work, pensions and wealth, social and cultural activity and cognitive function.
In particular, this report focuses on a number of issues that are of contemporary importance to older adults: