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2012 AARP Member Opinion Survey

AARP Members Opinion Survey Issue Spotlights highlight the needs and wants of our members on a variety of topics.
Work: While half of all AARP members are retired, many AARP members are working or looking for work. The concerns of the experienced worker are unique and understanding this population helps AARP provide them needed programs and support.

For more information, please contact either John Fries by e-mail or Jean Koppen by e-mail

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About the Member Opinion Survey

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The Survey

The Member Opinion Survey (MOS) is AARP’s largest single survey of AARP Members.  This dual mode survey is conducted every two to four years and informs AARP about the opinions, perceptions, and experiences of its members.  Beginning with its first wave back in 1994, the MOS collects data from more than 35,000 AARP Members in order to gain better insight into a variety of areas including issues and topics of concern, information and service needs, areas of interest, experience of life events, adaption and use of technology, as well as demographics and other descriptive information. The 2012 survey was fielded by Thoroughbred Research from May through July and was the first year in which members were provided a choice of either a paper or online questionnaire, with Spanish language versions also available.  

The Sample

The 2012 MOS is rooted in a stratified random sample of 135,000 AARP members (drawn from AARP’s Member Database) with an additional oversample of 5,000 Hispanic/Latino members.  Approximately 15% of sample members had a registered email address and opted-in to receiving research invitations via email from AARP.  The U.S. sample was stratified by state and AARP Life Stage Segment to ensure adequate representation to allow reporting within these key groupings. 

The Method

The survey followed a modified Dillman method utilizing both mail and web methodologies.   Sampled AARP members with a registered email address on file with AARP were initially contacted  via email.  This email invitation provided members with a personalized URL to the online version of the questionnaire.  All other members received exclusively mail contacts beginning with a prenotification letter explaining the survey.  Those emailable members who did not complete an online questionnaire after three total email contacts (the invitation plus two additional reminder emails) were also included in all subsequent mail contacts beginning with the initial paper questionnaire mailout.  All mail contacts, including those with a paper questionnaire, also included the option of completing the questionnaire via a URL and unique password to the online version of the survey.  Those not completing the survey online or not returning the paper questionnaire prior to the next mailing received up to three additional mail contacts encouraging participation.  In total, members could have received up to 3 email contacts and up to 5 mail contacts.  The next to last mail contact included a replacement questionnaire.  

Survey Response Rates

A total of 36,947 members completed and returned a questionnaire for an overall national response rate of 27 percent (AAPOR RR3) and a margin of error of ±1.0 percent.     


Weighting of the MOS was carried out in two stages.  The first stage adjusted for the initial stratification done during the sampling phase while the second stage adjusted for nonresponse and post-stratified the final sample so as to provide a representative sample of AARP Members both nationally and within each state.  Stage 1 of the weighting process utilized a traditional matrix weight to adjust for the initial stratification by state and AARP Life Stage Segment.  The second stage of the weighting process (Stage 2) employed RIM weighting to adjust for age, gender, times AARP Membership has been renewed, political ideology, email op-in status, and AARP engagement.  This approach yielded a final weighted data set that very closely matches the AARP membership as represented by the AARP Membership Database on the items considered, as well as providing successful correction on numerous other characteristics not directly included in the weighting.   

More Information

For data and key findings from the 2012 Member Opinion Survey, please visit:  For more detailed information about the methodology, please contact John Fries, Director of Tracking Research at

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