In pre-smartphone, pre-Internet days, social science and economics research moved at a much slower pace. We had to rely on in-person interviews, telephone surveys and snail mail. We still do, sometimes, when appropriate. Today, CESR researchers deploy next-generation tools to assemble an incredible, in-the-moment data collection that tells multiple stories about what it means to live and work in the 21st century world. These tools include:

  • Global Internet panels
  • Smartphones, palmtop devices and tablets
  • Wearable reporting devices, such as accelerometers
  • GPS
  • QR-codes
  • Brain activity imaging and other medical tests

We can form an instant focus group or create a population representative sample in the blink of a text message. The result is vastly superior data on what people do and think and how they inter-act with each other and their world. For information on the CESR data collection, contact Managing Director, Tania Gutsche.

Understanding America Study

The USC Understanding America Study (UAS) is creating an in-depth portrayal of the people in the U.S.–their daily lives and their opinions. This 15,000 respondent Internet panel is yielding insights and information of significant value to policy makers, government agencies, non-profit organizations, opinion pollsters, social science researchers, corporations and more. Learn more about the UAS or the UAS Data Pages.

Gateway to Global Aging

The Gateway to Global Aging, developed by the Program on Global Aging, Health, and Policy at CESR, is an incredibly robust storehouse of population survey data and tools that facilitate cross-national studies of aging. Learn more about the Program or the Gateway.


NubiS is a complete data collection tool that has been developed by the team behind the Understanding America Study (UAS) panel at the Center for Economic and Social Research at the University of Southern California. To learn more visit the NubiS web site or download our one-sheet.

Health and Retirement Study

In the mid-1980s, scientists at the National Institute on Aging and other organizations agreed that existing retirement research no longer reflected the changing face of retirement.  That realization gave birth to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), one of the largest and most ambitious national surveys ever undertaken.

Now 30 years’ strong, the multi-layered and complex HRS provides virtually endless opportunities to better understand how we age with its longitudinal household survey data on retirement, wealth and savings, disability, family, health and well-being.

Yucatan Aging Data

With the State of Yucatan, Mexico, we designed a non-contributory social security program for towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants, and evaluated its impact on the welfare of residents 70 years or over. We employed a quasi-experimental and randomized design with treatment and control groups and measurements before and after the intervention. People over age 70 get a pension of about US$69 at 2010 purchasing power parity (PPP) per month. This study follows both treatment and control groups over time to examine short and longer term effects. This is a unique project to test and understand the effects of non-contributory pension systems on the health and welfare of the elderly.

CESR Education Study

The CESR Center for Applied Research in Education (CARE)’s UAS Education Project focuses on collecting data from the subset of UAS panel households with at least one preK-12 child and/or at least one postsecondary student. Data collection began in March 2020 through the “Understanding Coronavirus in America” tracking survey, and continues through a series of stand-alone surveys and additions to periodic Covid survey waves.