The transition to retirement and the first years of life after retirement have undergone major changes in recent years. In addition to changed legal circumstances there has been a general improvement in material standards of living, health and the educational levels of today’s “young elderly”. These resources and abilities of older adults are the “old age potentials”,which, in light of the demographic transition, are being discussed as essential elements of future demographic policies.
Against this background, the Transitions and Old Age Potential (TOP) survey focuses on the transitions of the 1942 to 1958 cohorts to retirement as well as the potentials of older adults in the employment market, in civil society and in the family. Since the study is directed at the age span of 55 to 73 years, which is typically the time of entry into retirement, TOP sees itself as a “life phase survey” and a supplement to existing studies in the German-speaking region.
In 2011, the BiB launched the interdisciplinary TOP cooperative project with a number of partner universities. The survey builds on the Employment after Retirement Survey of the BiB from 2008. In the first quarter of 2013, 5,002 randomly selected persons between the ages of 55 and 70 were surveyed in a representative telephone study. The data from the TOP survey can be retrieved as a Scientific Use File.
Another survey of the persons who took part in the first wave in 2013 was conducted between November 2015 and February 2016. The second survey wave is important for the study of individual potentials and transitions to retirement over the course of time. One focus is on explaining labour market participation in late adult life using an action-theory approach.
Prof. Dr. Ursula M. Staudinger
Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, USA
Prof. Dr. Sonia Lippke
Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development
Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
Prof. Dr. Stephan Lessenich
Department of Sociology
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany