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We are constantly updating our documentation and adding tools to make the data as easily accessible as possible. Whether you have been using the PSID for decades, or are just getting started, we hope that this page will help you.

Follow the PSID

Anyone interested in the study findings can stay up to date through our news page, X account (@umpsid), and online bibliography.

New to the PSID?

If you are completely new to the PSID, here are a few things you might want to do before accessing the data:

  • Watch our Introductory Video, which provides a history of the study, its sample design, study specific terminology, and an overview of the PSID’s supplements.
  • View the Documentation and Online Resources Video to learn about locating specific documentation online as well as guidance on how to search the online bibliography & the PSID News page.
  • Read our latest User Guide, which gives a brief overview of the entire study, as well as updates on the most recent changes and innovations.

Study History

The PSID was originally created to study the dynamics of income and poverty. Over the past five decades, the study has been expanded to collect information on health, wealth, expenditures, philanthropy, child development, the transition to adulthood, and much more.

A detailed history of the study and sample can be found in Chapters 1 and 2 of the current User Guide

A Study of Families – A Family of Studies

The PSID has now collected data for more than 50 years from over 84,000 individuals. As of 2021, more than 9,200 families are followed, and there are as many as seven generations represented within sample families.

Several supplemental studies have been undertaken as well. Two ongoing supplements focus on child development and the transition into adulthood. Additional supplements on aging, disability, intergenerational transfers, and well-being have also been collected. Please see below for more details.

Restricted Data

In order to safeguard the confidentiality of respondents at the highest level, some data are provided only under conditions of a restricted use contract between the researcher and the University of Michigan.

Restricted data include, but are not limited to, geospatial information, school identifiers, assisted housing linkages, vehicle make and model, child reports of sensitive information, criminal justice system exposure, National Death Index linkages and more. To see all available files, please see the Restricted Data webpage.

Review the Documentation

To familiarize yourself with the website, view the Documentation and Online Resources Video to understand how best to navigate the documentation and gather the information most pertinent to your research project.

If any questions remain, check out the FAQ page, where the top user questions have been answered.

Downloading the Data

Once collected and processed, the data are released into both the Data Center and as .zip files on our Packaged Data page.

Public Use Data are available free of cost to all researchers who register, and agree to the Conditions of Use. To help you access the data you need, please see the Accessing and Downloading PSID Data Video.

Ongoing Supplements

Child Development Supplement (CDS)

The CDS provides researchers with extensive data on children and their families to study the dynamic process of early human and social capital formation. The study collects data on children’s health, development, and well-being within the context of the family, school, and neighborhood.

The Original CDS was started in 1997, following a cohort of children 0 to 12 years of age across three waves of data collection over the course of a decade. In 2014, 2019 and again in 2021, the CDS was relaunched as an ongoing longitudinal study that collects data on all children in PSID families 0 to 17 years of age.

Transition into Adulthood Supplement (TAS)

The Transition into Adulthood Supplement (TAS) began in 2005 to follow children from the original CDS cohort into young adulthood, collecting six waves of data through 2015. The study was relaunched in 2017, and collected again in 2019 and 2021, to follow all PSID sample children who are entering early adulthood, and who comprise the future focal sample members of Core PSID. The Ongoing TAS will continue to be collected biennially.

Information is collected on many domains including psychological functioning, family formation, fertility-related behavior, cohabitation, childhood adversity, computer skills, responsibilities, employment and income, education and career goals, and health.

One-Time Supplements

Disability and Use of Time Supplement (DUST)

DUST collected information in 2009 and 2013 to investigate the connections between disability, time use, and well-being for older adults.

Information was obtained using time diaries about what respondents did, where they were, who did the activities with them, who else was there, how they felt, and for household and care-related activities, for whom the activity was carried out. Information was also collected about the respondent’s health, functioning, well-being, and stylized time use and participation measures.

Childhood Retrospective Circumstances Study (CRCS)

The CRCS collected data in 2014 from household heads (‘reference persons’ as of 2017) and, if married/cohabitating, spouses/partners on childhood experiences, including health, socioeconomic status, neighborhood quality, relationships, school experiences, and exposure to the criminal justice system.

Wellbeing and Daily Life Supplement (WB)

The Wellbeing and Daily Life Supplement collected data in 2016 from household heads (‘reference persons’ as of 2017) and spouses/partners ages 30 and above on well-being, personality traits, and every day skills.

Family Roster and Transfers Module (R&T)

The R&T Module was collected from household heads (‘reference persons’ as of 2017) and spouses/partners during the 2013 wave of Core PSID.

The module includes summary information on family structure and whether there were any short-term transfers to and from parent units and children in the last year as well as long-term transfers from parents and to children.

Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions after reading all the available information in this guide and searching the website, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page or feel free to contact us at psidhelp@umich.edu.