Retention & Reasons for Noninterview

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth - 1979 Cohort

Retention & Reasons for Noninterview

Retention vs. Response Rate

Retention rates for NLSY79 respondents from 1979 to 1993 exceeded 90 percent. Rates from 1994 until 2000 exceeded 80 percent. Rates from 2002 until 2014 have been in the 70s. Retention rate is calculated by dividing the number of respondents interviewed by the number of respondents remaining eligible for interview. All 1979 (round 1) respondents including those reported as deceased are eligible for interviews, with the exception of those who have been permanently dropped from the sample. In the round 25 (2012) survey, 7,301 civilian and military respondents out of the 9,964 eligible were interviewed, for an overall retention rate of 73.3 percent. Retention rates for each survey are shown in Table 1. This table also shows which interviews were conducted with paper-and-pencil interviewing (PAPI) and which were executed with computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI).

The number of respondents can also be expressed as a percentage of the number of base year respondents not known to be deceased. This is referred to as the response rate and is reported in Table 2 for each survey round. As of 2014, 790 main respondents had been reported as deceased. The response rate for those believed to be alive is 79.0 percent.

Table 1. Sample Sizes & Retention Rates by Sample Type: NLSY79

    Cross-Sectional
Sample
Supplemental Sample Military Sample Total Sample
Year Type & Mode of Interview Total Retention Rate 1 Total Retention Rate 1 Total Retention Rate 1 Total Retention Rate 1
1979 Personal/PAPI 6111 - 5295 - 1280 - 12686 -
1980 Personal/PAPI 5873 96.1 5075 95.9 1193 93.2 12141 95.7
1981 Personal/PAPI 5892 96.4 5108 96.5 1195 93.4 12195 96.1
1982 Personal/PAPI 5876 96.2 5036 95.1 1211 94.6 12123 95.6
1983 Personal/PAPI 5902 96.6 5093 96.2 1226 95.8 12221 96.3
1984 Personal/PAPI 5814 95.1 5040 95.2 1215 94.9 12069 95.1
1985 Personal/PAPI 5751 94.1 4957 93.6 1862 92.5 108943 93.9
1986 Personal/PAPI 5633 92.2 4839 91.4 183 91.1 10655 91.8
1987 Telephone/PAPI 5538 90.6 4768 90.1 179 89.1 10485 90.3
1988 Personal/PAPI 5513 90.2 4777 90.2 175 87.1 10465 90.2
1989 Personal/PAPI/CAPI 5571 91.2 4853 91.7 181 90.0 10605 91.4
1990 Personal/PAPI/CAPI 5498 90.0 4755 89.8 183 91.0 10436 89.9
1991 Personal/PAPI 5556 90.9 32814 89.9 181 90.0 90185 90.5
1992 Personal/PAPI 5553 90.9 3280 89.8 183 91.0 9016 90.5
1993 Personal/CAPI 5537 90.6 3293 90.2 181 90.0 9011 90.4
1994 Personal/CAPI 5457 89.3 3256 89.2 178 88.6 8891 89.2
1996 Personal/CAPI 5290 86.6 3171 86.8 175 87.1 8636 86.7
1998 Personal/CAPI 5159 84.4 3065 83.9 175 87.1 8399 84.3
2000 Personal/CAPI 4949 81.0 2921 80.0 163 81.1 8033 80.6
2002 Personal/CAPI 4775 78.1 2792 76.5 157 78.1 7724 77.5
2004 Personal/CAPI 4686 76.7 2818 77.2 157 78.1 7661 76.9
2006 Personal/CAPI 4630 75.8 2862 78.4 162 80.6 7654 76.8
2008 Personal/CAPI 4688 76.7 2908 79.6 161 80.1 7757 77.8
2010 Personal/CAPI  4602 75.3 2808 76.9  155 77.1 7565 75.9
2012 Personal/CAPI 4422 72.4 2732 74.8  147 73.1 7301 73.3
2014 Personal/CAPI 4263 69.8 2661 72.9 147 73.1 7071 71.0
 
1  Retention rate is defined as the percentage of base year respondents within each sample type remaining eligible who were interviewed in a given survey year. Included in the eligible sample are deceased and difficult to field respondents whom NORC does not attempt to contact.
2  A total of 201 military respondents were retained from the original sample of 1,280.
3  The total number of civilian and military respondents in the NLSY79 at the beginning of the 1985 survey was 11,607.
4  Economically disadvantaged, nonblack/non-Hispanic female and male members of the supplemental subsample are not eligible for interview as of the 1991 survey year. Remaining eligible for interview in post-1990 surveys are 3,652 black and Hispanic or Latino respondents of the supplemental sample, of whom 3,281 were interviewed in 1991.
5  The total number of civilian and military respondents in the NLSY79 at the beginning of the 1991 survey was 9,964.

 

Table 2. Response Rates (Excluding Deceased Sample Members) by Sample Type: NLSY79

  Cross-Sectional Sample Supplemental Sample Military Sample Total Sample
Year # Response Total Deceased Rate # Response Total Deceased Rate # Response Total Deceased Rate # Response Total Deceased Rate
1979 6,111 0 - 5,295 0 - 1,280 0 - 12,686 0 -
1980 5,873 4 96.2 5,075 5 95.9 1,193 0 93.2 12,141 9 95.8
1981 5,892 15 96.7 5,108 14 96.7 1,195 0 93.4 12,195 29 96.3
1982 5,876 24 96.5 5,036 19 95.5 1,211 1 94.7 12,123 44 95.9
1983 5,902 27 97.0 5,093 26 96.7 1,226 4 96.1 12,221 57 96.8
1984 5,814 30 95.6 5,040 33 95.8 1,215 4 95.2 12,069 67 95.6
1985 5,751 36 94.7 4,957 43 94.4 1861 0 92.5 10,8941 79 94.5
1986 5,633 43 92.8 4,839 51 92.3 183 1 91.5 10,655 95 92.6
1987 5,538 51 91.4 4,768 56 91.0 179 3 90.4 10,485 110 91.2
1988 5,513 56 91.0 4,777 68 91.4 175 3 88.4 10,465 127 91.2
1989 5,571 60 92.1 4,853 78 93.0 181 3 91.4 10,605 141 92.5
1990 5,498 67 91.0 4,755 82 91.2 183 3 92.4 10,436 152 91.1
1991 5,556 75 92.0 3,2812 65 91.5 181 4 91.9 9,0182 144 91.9
1992 5,553 81 92.1 3,280 71 91.6 182 4 92.4 9,015 156 91.9
1993 5,537 90 92.0 3,293 83 92.3 181 4 91.9 9,011 177 92.1
1994 5,457 104 90.8 3,256 96 91.6 178 4 90.4 8,891 204 91.1
1996 5,290 129 88.4 3,171 109 89.5 175 5 89.3 8,636 243 88.8
1998 5,159 152 86.6 3,065 118 86.7 175 5 89.3 8,399 275 86.7
2000 4,949 170 83.3 2,921 136 83.1 163 7 84.0 8,033 313 83.2
2002 4,775 188 80.6 2,792 151 79.7 157 7 80.9 7,724 346 80.3
2004 4,686 221 79.6 2,818 171 81.0 157 7 80.9 7,661 399 80.1
2006 4630 252 79.0 2862 197 82.8 162 7 83.5 7654 456 80.5
2008 4688 274 80.3 2908 222 84.8 161 7 83.0 7757 503 82.0
2010 4602  309 79.3 2808 255 82.7 155 9  80.7  7565 573  80.6
2012 4422  384 77.2 2732  292 81.3 147 13 78.2 7301 689  78.7
2014 4263 444 75.2 2661 331 80.1 147 15 79.0 7071 790 77.1
 
Note: Response rate is defined as the percentage of base-year respondents remaining eligible and not known to be deceased who were interviewed in a given survey year.
1A total of 201 military respondents were retained from the original sample of 1,280; 186 of the 201 participated in the 1985 interview. The total number of NLSY79 civilian and military respondents eligible for interview (including deceased respondents) beginning in 1985 was 11,607.
2 The 1,643 economically disadvantaged nonblack/non-Hispanic male and female members of the supplemental subsample were not eligible for interview as of the 1991 survey year. The total number of NLSY79 civilian and military respondents eligible for interview (including deceased respondents) beginning in 1991 was 9,964.