Sample Design and Screening Process

Sample Design and Screening Process


Young Women Sample Design and Screening Process

Important Information

During the screening process a large number of multiple respondent households were designated for interview; more than half of respondents in the Mature Women, Young Women, and Young Men cohorts and one-third of respondents in the Older Men cohort originated from multiple respondent households (i.e., a household with at least one other NLS respondent). For more information on multiple respondent households and on the types of relationships that existed between respondent pairs (e.g., spouse, sibling, etc.), see the Household Composition section of this guide.

Sample Design

The original NLS of Young Women sample was designed to represent the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States ages 14-24 as of December 31, 1967, at the time of the initial survey. The cohort is represented by a multi-stage probability sample drawn by the Census Bureau from 1,900 primary sampling units (PSUs) that had originally been selected from the nation's counties and cities for the experimental Monthly Labor Survey conducted between early 1964 and late 1966. A primary sampling unit consists of Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs), counties (or parishes in some states), parts of counties, and independent cities. A total of 235 sample areas, comprising 485 counties and independent cities, were chosen to represent every state and the District of Columbia. From the sample areas, 235 strata were created of one or more PSUs that were relatively homogeneous according to socioeconomic characteristics. Within each stratum, a single PSU was selected to represent the stratum. Finally, within each PSU, a probability sample of housing units was selected to represent the civilian noninstitutionalized population. Because the addresses for the sample frame came from the 1960 Census, respondents are covered by Title 13 confidentiality restrictions. Variables linked to geographic residence, including county and state, are available for use at Census Data Centers (see for more information, and see the Geocode information at for details on applying to access these data).

Screening Process

As dictated by the above requirements, the initial sample of about 42,000 housing units for all four NLS Original Cohorts was selected and screening interviews took place in March and April of 1966. Of this number, about 7,500 units were found to be either vacant, occupied by persons whose usual residence was elsewhere, changed from residential use, or demolished. On the other hand, about 900 additional units were found created within existing living space or changed from what had been nonresidential space. A total of 35,360 housing units were available for interview, from which usable information was collected for 34,662 households for a completion rate of 98.0 percent.

The original plan called for using the initial screening to select all four NLS Original Cohorts. However, after the sample members for the Older Men were chosen, the sample was rescreened in September 1966 before the initial interview of the Young Men. This decision was made because a seven-month delay between the screening and first interview seemed inordinate due to the mobility of young men in their late teens and early twenties. To increase efficiency, it was decided to stratify the sample for the rescreening by the presence or absence of a 14- to 24-year-old male in the household. The probability was high that a household that contained a 14- to 24-year-old in March would also have such a member in September. However, to insure that the sample also represented persons who had moved into sample households in the intervening period, a sample of addresses that previously had no 14- to 24-year-old males was also included in the rescreening operation. Since a telephone number had been recorded for most households at the time of the initial screening interview, every attempt was made to complete the short screening interview by telephone. The sample of households from the initial screening, supplemented with information from the rescreening, was subsequently used to obtain the two samples of women ages 30-44 and 14-24 for the Mature Women and Young Women cohorts (Parnes et al. 1970; Shea et al. 1971).

Sampling Process

Following the initial household interview and rescreening operation, 5,533 women ages 14-24 as of December 31, 1967, were designated to be interviewed for the Young Women cohort. The sample was designed to provide approximately 5,000 respondents--about 1,500 nonwhites and 3,500 whites. The women were sampled differentially within four strata:  whites in predominantly white enumeration districts (EDs), non-whites in predominantly non-white EDs, whites in predominantly non-white EDs, and non-whites in predominantly white EDs. An enumeration district is a geographical area considered to be an appropriate size for an interviewer to complete all necessary interviews within a prescribed time frame. To provide separate reliable statistics for black respondents, the sample design called for oversampling of blacks at twice the expected rate in the total population. The sampling rate of households in predominantly non-white EDs was between three and four times that for households in predominantly white EDs in order to meet this survey requirement. During the first survey in 1968, 5,159 (93.2 percent) of the designated women were interviewed.