A project initiated by the intramural Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry Program of the National Institute on Aging, entitled "Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly" (EPESE), has developed information on death, chronic conditions, disabilities, and institutionalization for representative samples of elderly people living in communities. The EPESE consists of prospective epidemiologic studies of approximately 14,000 persons 65 years of age and older in four different communities: East Boston, Massachusetts; two rural counties in Iowa; New Haven, Connecticut; and segments of five counties in the north-central Piedmont area of North Carolina. The study design includes an initial baseline household interview followed by continued surveillance of morbidity and mortality. Participants are re-contacted annually in conjunction with the collection of data on cause of death and factors related to hospitalization and nursing home admissions. Concurrently, the investigators developed substudies focused on specific problems of the elderly. The value of this research lies in the longitudinal design which allows for analyses aimed at identifying risk factors of diseases, disabilities, hospitalizations, institutionalization, and mortality.