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HAGIS: Pilot study 
Background to HAGIS 

Like most developed countries, Scotland has an ageing population. Currently, around 40% of its residents, some 2 million people, are aged 50+. Scotland will face many policy challenges associated with ageing over the next few decades, including how to meet the increasing demand for health and social care services, how to adapt to an elderly population with increasingly diverse social and economic characteristics and how to provide income support for those outside the labour market.

A necessary condition for effective policy response to these challenges is a clear understanding of the economic, social and health-related conditions faced by older people in Scotland. The UK is a world-l eading centre for the development longitudinal and cohort studies. These have had a substantial influence on policy development in recent decades. 

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In Scotland, the Scottish Government controls most policies that affect older people and it is, therefore, able to follow a different strategic direction for older people’s policy than that in other parts of the UK.


The distinct policy environments suggest the need for a different evidence base for older people in Scotland. However, Scotland has no longitudinal study that focuses on its ageing population. 

HAGIS: Pilot Study

Healthy Ageing in Scotland (HAGIS) pilot study explored opportunities for Scotland’s comprehensive longitudinal study of its ageing population. The study was funded by the National Institute of Aging and the Nuffield Foundation. The study took advantage of its access to administrative data linkage to develop an innovative sampling frame and to link consenting respondent’s surveys to health, social care, and education data. Fieldwork was conducted by FACTS International and project managed by the HAGIS team at the University of Stirling.

HAGIS is of international importance as a member of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) family of longitudinal surveys of ageing. Harmonised data from HAGIS will permit quantitative comparisons of ageing processes between Scotland and the other members of the HRS family, which now cover more than 50% of the world’s population aged over 50.

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