Family Background

Family Background

 

Child

Created variables

AGEMOMyyyy. AGE OF MOTHER OF CHILD AT DATE OF INTERVIEW
MAGEBIR. AGE OF MOTHER AT BIRTH OF CHILD
SAMPLE-ID. SAMPLE IDENTIFICATION CODE OF NLSY79 MOTHER
SAMPWT79. SAMPLING WEIGHT OF MOTHER  

ATTSCHyyyy. MOTHER CURRENTLY ATTENDING OR ENROLLED IN REGULAR SCHOOL? 
HGCDOIyyyy. HIGHEST GRADE COMPLETED BY MOTHER AS OF DATE OF INTERVIEW
HGCDOIyyyy. HIGHEST GRADE COMPLETED BY MOTHER AS OF DATE OF INTERVIEW

DADHMyyyy. DOES  FATHER OF CHILD (LIVING IN HH) LIVE IN THIS HOUSEHOLD?
DADLIVyyyy. IS ABSENT FATHER OF CHILD (LIVING IN HH) LIVING?  
DADDISyyyy. DISTANCE ABSENT FATHER OF CHILD (LIVING IN HH) LIVES FROM MOTHER
DADSEEyyyy. TIMES IN PAST 12 MONTHS CHILD (LIVING IN HH) HAS SEEN ABSENT FATHER
DADVISyyyy. # OF DAYS ABSENT FATHER VISITS USUALLY LAST WITH CHILD (LIVING IN HH)
DADHHyyyy. IS FATHER/STEP/GRANDFATHER OF MOTHER PRESENT IN HOUSEHOLD OF MOTHER?

CSIBID01 - CSIBID10. ID CODE OF NTH SIBLING OF CHILD
SPOUSEID. ID CODE OF INTERVIEWED SPOUSE OF MOTHER
SISTID1 - SISTID4. ID CODE OF NTH INTERVIEWED SISTER OF MOTHER             

Age of mother

The child file contains two key variables that indicate the age of the mother: (1) AGEMOMyyyy is the mother's age at each interview date, and (2) MAGEBIR indicates the mother's age at the birth of the child. The creation procedure for the age of mother variables is based on the mother's date of birth as provided in 1979. Table 2 in the Sample Design section of the User's Guide shows the distribution of the year of birth of the child by the age of their mother when she gave birth. The variables that indicate the age of the mother at each interview date (AGEMOMyyyy) are assigned to the FAMILY BACKGROUND area of interest while the "Age of Mother at Birth of Child" variable (MAGEBIR) is found in CHILD BACKGROUND as it is specific to each child. (A series of cross-sectional and cross-round (XRND)  variables have also been constructed that indicate the age of the mother at the birth of her first child. These mother-based constructed variables can be found in the NLSY79 main Youth file by searching on “AGE1B” in the FERTILITY AND RELATIONSHIP HISTORY area of interest.)

Mother's sample ID & sampling weight

Two key variables from the mother's main Youth record appear in the FAMILY BACKGROUND area of interest: (1) the mother's original sample identification category which provides information on whether she was in one of the cross-sectional samples or special oversamples, and (2) her 1979 sampling weight. These two mother variables are taken directly from the main Youth file, and included as child-based variables for all children and young adults in the Child and Young Adult datafiles. In the main Youth, individual case weights are assigned for each year so that group population estimates can be produced when desired. The assignment of individual respondent weights involves various types of adjustment, and additional considerations are necessary when weighting the NLSY79 Child data. For information on the construction and use of the NLSY79 sampling weights, consult the NLSY79 User's Guide. Details on the nature of the original NLSY79 sample identification code for the main Youth respondents can also be found in the NLSY79 User's Guide (question S24Q01, R01736.).

Family education and competence

The Child/Young Adult database contains a series of child-based constructed variables that describe the educational background of the child's mother. One set, ATTSCHyyyy and HGCDOIyyyy, indicates enrollment status and highest grade completed at each of the mother's interview dates. These two variables are based directly on key constructed variables from the main Youth, with no additional attempt to reconcile inconsistencies between survey years. Alternatively, users may wish to consider using HGCREVyyyy, “Highest Grade Completed by Mother as of May 1 Survey Year (Revised)”. HGCREVyyyy is a child-based version of the mothers’ main Youth key variable HGCREVyy, which is created to maintain consistency and prevent regression in years of schooling when respondents return to school in a new field of study.

Maternal enrollment status and highest grade completed by the mother are constructed for each main Youth survey round and assigned to the FAMILY BACKGROUND area of interest. Variables that summarize the education of the mother's spouse or partner as well as the other adult members of the household are discussed below with the MATERNAL HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION variables.

Father Presence in HH

A series of constructed variables is provided to users that indicate if the child’s father is present in the household (DADHMyyyy), and if not, whether he is still living (DADLIVEyyyy) and the distance he lives from the child (DADDISyyyy). The father presence variables are assigned to the CHILD BACKGROUND area of interest. Details on these “DAD” variables can be found elsewhere in this users guide in the section on Parenting Behavior and Attitudes under "Father presence and contact."

Home Environment

As part of the child interview, mothers are asked detailed, age-appropriate questions about the child's home environment. Interviewers also complete a series of "Interviewer Observations" designed to give an overview of the child's physical environment and the interaction between mother and child. These items, as well as summary scores, based on the HOME-Short Form instrument developed by Bradley and Caldwell, can be found in the discussion of the HOME scales in the Child Assessments section of the topical guide.

Maternal household composition

Since the children who are eligible for interview in the survey are living at least part-time with their mothers, the mother's main Youth household record is used to describe the cross-sectional composition of the child's household. Child-based, cross-sectional variables are constructed from each round of the mother's survey data to describe the people living in the child's mother's household in each survey round.  Variables include the total number of (1) household members, (2) family members, , (3) children,  (4) adults, and (5) for 1979-1992, the number of family units present in the household at the date of the mother’s main Youth interview.  The family unit is defined as individuals listed on the household roster who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption who share the same household.  There are also indicators of whether a spouse, partner, mother, or father of the child's mother is present as well as the number of household members of various age ranges. These household and family variables are created from the household enumeration roster that is updated at each main Youth interview.  Maternal household composition  information is provided for all survey dates and hence some variables describe the composition of the mother's household prior to the birth of a particular child.  Variables referring to whether a spouse or partner is present in the household are based strictly on the main Youth household record rather than  on information obtained in the marital section of the main Youth questionnaire. Variables that indicate the number of children of the mother are based on a count of biological, adopted and stepchildren in the household, and are not limited to children born to the mother.  The child-based, maternal household constructed variables are assigned to the area of interest called MATERNAL HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION in the Child data file. (See the Household Composition topical guide section for a complete list of created variables that are based on the mother's record but available in the Child file, that describe the cross-sectional composition of the child's household.)

Religion

Starting with the 1988 Child survey, children ages 10 and older are asked their religious affiliation and how often they attend religious services.  They are also asked if they usually attend with their parents, if they would attend without their parents, whether many of their friends attend services, and the extent to which their friends attend the same services. In 1998 the format for the affiliation question was changed to a code-all (or mark-all) format that allowed multiple choices. The "other" verbatim responses are recoded into existing categories wherever possible and other categories added to capture responses that did not match the choices offered.

Siblings and aunts

Some respondents in the original NLSY79 main sample were related either by marriage or family. A series of identification codes is included in the child's file that identifies the child siblings and the interviewed spouse and sisters of each child's mother if they were part of the original NLSY79 sample selected in 1979.  The sibling identification codes (CSIBID01-10), the mother's spouse ID (SPOUSEID) and the mother's sisters IDs (SISTID1-SISTID4) are assigned to the CHILD BACKGROUND area of interest.

 

Young Adult

The family background section gathers information about family characteristics and transitions and includes a variety of types of questions depending on each respondent's situation. 

The family background series begins with a migration sequence. Prior to 2000 this sequence asked respondents whether they had lived all their lives in their current city of residence and, if not, when they moved there. In 2000 this sequence was expanded to include up to two moves since the date of last interview as well as a summary measure of number of moves for people indicating more than two moves. Also added in 2000 were questions aimed at Young Adults ages 21 and older to identify whether or not there was movement into or out of the mother's household, as well as a question concerning homelessness. Beginning in 2002, these questions were asked of all Young Adult respondents regardless of age.

Young Adults under age 21 are asked about their father's work and education. All Young Adults not living with either or both of their parents are asked the amount and type of contact they have with their parent(s). 

First-time Young Adults are asked to verify their date of birth, self-identify their race and ethnic background, and give their father's race. 

All Young Adults have been asked about religious affiliation and attendance, as well as the importance of religion to them, since 1994. Beginning in 2002, additional questions were also asked of Young Adults ages 18 and under about whether they attended religious services with parents and/or friends – these questions parallel questions asked when they were children. Since 2008, those Young Adults who self identify as Christians are then asked if they consider themselves born-again/evangelical.

Since 2006, the family background section has also included a series of questions about the biological relatedness of the Young Adult to the other biological children of the mother; this series remains for young adult respondents who have either never gone through it or who have a new sibling.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: Due to its design, the entire NLSY79 main survey provides family background information for the Children of the NLSY79. In addition to the rich longitudinal data collected from the mothers, data are available on the NLSY79 respondents’ parents and siblings as well as on the respondents’ early characteristics. 

Data provided by the respondent about his or her parents are available for all other cohorts. Cohort respondents have provided information about the country of birth and life status of their parents, as well as the educational attainment and occupation of their parents during their teenage years. NLSY97 respondents and the Mature and Young Women also provided information about their parents' health and income and about transfers of time and money to and from their parents.

The NLSY97 survey identifies siblings on the household roster giving age and relationship to the respondent. Parent information was collected from the responding parent in the round 1 Parent Questionnaire and included questions concerning parental background, attitudes, employment, health, income, and marital status. In 1976, 1977, and 1978 respectively, a full collection of information about siblings was included in the surveys of Young Men, Mature Women, and Young Women of the Original Cohorts. Geographic data for NLSY79 respondents fall into two categories:  information on the main public file and more detailed information released on a restricted-access geocode CD.

Survey Instruments Family background questions are found in the Young Adult Instrument, Key Variables, and Section 2, Family Background.
Area of Interest YA Family Background