National Long-Term Care Survey

What is the NLTCS?

The National Long Term Care Survey is funded through a Cooperative Agreement (2 U01 AG0007198) between the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and Duke University.  It is a longitudinal survey designed to study changes in the health and functional status of older Americans (aged 65+).  It also tracks health expenditures, Medicare service use, and the availability of personal, family, and community resources for caregiving.  The survey began in 1982, and follow-up surveys were conducted in 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, and 2004.  

The NLTCS survey population consists of a sample of 35,789 people drawn from national Medicare enrollment files in 1982 that has been augmented with subsequent samples of approximately 20,000 Medicare enrollees obtained by adding 5,000 people passing age 65 between successive surveys done approximately every five years.  This technique ensures a large, nationally-representative sample at each point in time.  Both elderly in the community (including those not impaired) and those residing in institutions are represented in the samples.  The survey is administered by the U.S. Census Bureau using trained interviewers, and the response rate is above 95 percent for all waves.

Supplemental surveys consist of the Next-of-Kin, Caregiver, and Blood and Buccal surveys done under subcontract with ASPE and the Research Triangle Institute (RTI).

For a full overview of the NLTCS and its supplements see the Introduction.

See "Data Alerts" for recent changes for the 1999 and additions for 2004.

2004 NLTCS Data now available