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Dataset: Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID)

Basic Information
Dataset full name: Panel Survey of Income Dynamics
Dataset acronym PSID
Summary The Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) is a longitudinal household survey that began collecting annual data in 1968, and has done so every two years since 1997. It follows a nationally representative sample of over 18,000 individuals living in 5,000 families in the U.S.; as of 2016, the sample had grown to 24,000 individuals in 10,000 families. Information on these individuals and their descendants has been collected continuously for nearly 50 years. The PSID collects data regarding employment, income, wealth, expenditures, health, marriage, childbearing, child development, philanthropy, education, and numerous other topics.
Key Terms Family, Family member, Family units, Well-being
Study Design Longitudinal
Data Type(s) Survey
Sponsoring Agency/Entity National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Health and Human Development, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and the U.S., Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Health conditions/Disability measures
Health condition(s)

Health condition items added in 2003-current:  Arthritis, Asthma, Cardiovascular conditions, Cardiac Disorders, Diabetes, Cancer, Neurological conditions, Orthopedic conditions, Stroke, Chronic Diseases, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Disability Measures
  • 1968-current: Work limitation
  • 2003-current:  Developmental disability, Functional limitations (ADLs & IADLs),  Mental health disability, Physical disability
  • 2005-current: Special equipment use/assistive technology
  • 2009-current: Ambulatory disability, Cognitive disability, Hearing disability, Independent living disability, Self-care disability, Visual disability
Measures/outcomes of interest
Topics Income, employment, assistance program participation, economic opportunity
Sample Population Stratified multi-stage sample of U.S. families and their members
Sample Size/Notes More than 24,000 individuals in 10,000 families
Unit of Observation Individual
Geographic Coverage United States
Geographic specificity
  • State
  • Truncated Beale rural-urban code categories (1985-1997)
  • Geospacial block-level data (restricted access)
Data Collection
Data Collection Mode Survey
Years Collected 1968-current
Data Collection Frequency

1968-1996: Annually.

1997-current : Data collected every two years

Strengths and limitations
Strengths Provides long-running, detailed information on families and economics. Longitudinal data permit the examination of the dynamics of the disability process, including disability onset, duration and consequences. Possible to link to Medicare claims data. Instrument similar to that used in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). A variable cross-walk between the PSID (2001) and HRS (2000) is available here:
Limitations Prior to 2003, disability information was limited to a work limitation question asked of the head of household and spouse.  Limited data regarding the disability status of other family members. Annual sample size too small to support state level estimates to study specific disability types or children with disabilities. 
Data details
Primary Website 

Data Access 

Data Access Requirements

Public Use Dataset is available 

Access to other PSID files require a Data Use agreement, No Cost: Block-level geospacial data; National Death Index mortality data; assisted housing matched to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data; Medicare claims; and educational characteristics linked the National Center for Education Statistics data.

Summary Tables/reports NA
Selected papers

Technical paper series: 

Other Papers

PSID Main Interview User Manual: Release 2013. Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, July, 2013 

Burkhauser, R.V., Weathers, R., & Schroeder, M. (2006, May). A Guide to Disability Statistics from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.  

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