Asterisk Table | National Longitudinal Survey of Youth | 1979

This page presents a table summarizing selected variables from the NLSY79 surveys (use the drop-down menu to select topics of interest). The table lists individual items or groups of related items, with year columns indicating the survey years in which the item(s) are available. Both survey questions and created variables are included. "R" used in variable descriptions stands for "respondent." Users are encouraged to consult the questionnaires for exact question wording in each survey round.

II. Human Capital and Other Socioeconomic Variables

A. Early formative influences/Parental status

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Nationality and birthplace *       *                                        
Birth date *   *                                            
Ethnic self-identification (revised 2002) *                                     *          
Year foreign-born R entered the United States         *             *                          
Month and year R entered the United States to live for at least 6 months *                     *                          
Country of citizenship when immigrated                       *                          
Immigration or visa status                       *                          
Religious affiliation, frequency of attendance *     *                             *            
Periods lived away from parents (birth to age 18) *                 *                              
Non-English language spoken when R was a child *                                                
Were magazines, newspapers, or library cards available in home when R was age 14 *                                                
Person(s) R lived with at age 14 *                     *                          
Occupations of primary adults when R was 14 *                                                
Birthplace of parents:  State or country *                                                
Highest grade completed by father and mother *                                                
Employment status of father and mother in past year * *                                              
Are R's parents living * *                               * * * * * * * *
R's biological parents---life status, health, cause of death (40+/50+ health modules)                                   * * * * * * * *

B. Education

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Current enrollment status, date of last enrollment * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Highest grade completed * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reason stopped attending school * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Highest degree and date received                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Is or was school public or private *                                                
High school curriculum * * * * * * *                                    
Comparison of high school courses to skills training                             *                    
College degree received * * * * * *       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Type of college attending (2- or 4-year) * * * * * * * *   * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * *
Field of study or specialization in college * * * * * * * *   * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * *
College tuition *                                                
Educational loans or financial aid in college * * * * * * * *   * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * *
Attitude toward selected aspects of high school *                                                
Courses taken during last year of high school *                                                
Ever suspended or expelled from school; date   *                                              

C. Vocational training outside regular school

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Type(s) of training * * * * * * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Number of weeks, hours per week in training * * * * * * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Was training completed * * * * * * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Was degree, certificate, or journeyman's card obtained * *                                              
Was training related to specific job or employer       * * * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Was training related to a promotion                       * * * * *                  
Reason for training       * * *             * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Method of financing training       * * *       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Informal job learning activities (questions vary)                             * * * * * * * * * * *

D. Government jobs and training programs

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Participation in programs * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Type of program * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Satisfaction with program * * * * * * * * *                                
Did program help on subsequent jobs * * * * * * * * *   * * * * * * * *              
Services provided by program * * * * * * * * *                                
Length of participation in program * * * * * * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hours per week and per day spent in program * * * * * * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Amount of income from participating in program * * * * * * * *                                  
Aspects liked most and least about programs *                                                
Reasons for entering and leaving programs * * * * * * * * *                                

E. Health and physical condition

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Does health limit work, duration of limitation * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Type of health problem (ICD-9 code) * * * *                                          
Work-related injury or illness (ICD-9 code)                   * * *   * * * * * *            
Height     * *     *                             * * * *
Weight     * *     * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Health insurance coverage---R, spouse, children                     * *   * * * * * * * * * * * *
Frequency and intensity of R's physical activity                                   * * * * * * * *
R's general health behaviors                                       * * * * * *
General perception of health (40+/50+ health modules)                                   * * * * * * * *
Does health interfere with daily activities (40+/50+ health modules)                                   * * * * * * * *
Emotional health in past 4 weeks (40+/50+ health modules)                                   * * * * * * * *
CES-Depression Scale                           *   *   * * * * * * * *
R's various health problems (heart problems, cancer, diabetes, poor eyesight or hearing, and so forth) (40+/50+ health modules)                                   * * * * * * * *
Time spent on healthcare activities (40+/50+ health modules)                                   * * * * * * * *
Diagnosed with asthma (40+/50+ health modules)                                   * * * * * * * *

F. Marital history and spouse characteristics (note that all spouse items also refer to partners beginning in 1994)

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Dating behaviors and attitudes (unmarried females)                   *       *   * * * * * * * * * *
Marital status * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Changes in marital status since 1/1/1978 or previous interview; number and duration of marriages * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Month, year R and partner began living together                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Did R and spouse live together continuously before marriage (or R and partner continuously until now)                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Changes in cohabitation with partner since last interview                                       * * * * * *
Occupation of spouse * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Race of Spouse                                             * * *
Extent spouse worked in previous calendar year * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Current labor force status, reason not employed for spouse                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Shift worked by spouse       *           * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rate of pay, hourly rate of pay of spouse                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Spouse/partner's religious affiliation and attendance       *                             * * * * * * *
Number of spouse's marriages, details       *                           * * * * * * * *
Effect of spouse's health on R's work       *                                          
Quality of R's relationship (14 items) (mothers in 1988; females all other years)                   *       *   * * * * * * * * * *
Age at which R expects to marry *                                                

G. Household and children

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Relationship of household or family members to R * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Household or family members' demographics (sex, age, highest grade completed, work status in past year) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Number of dependents or exemptions * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Number and ages of R's children living in household * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Expected number of children *     * * * * *   *   *   *   * * * * * * * * * *
Number of children R considers ideal *     *                                          
Healthcare during pregnancy (females)         * * * *   *   *   *   * * * * * * * * * *
Postnatal infant healthcare and feeding (females)         * * * *   *   *   *   * * * * * * * * * *
Father's relationship with children (males)                                   * *            
Fertility history * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Use of birth control methods       *   * * *   *   *   *   * * * * * * * * * *
Pregnancies not resulting in live births (includes how ended through 1990)       * * * * *   *   *   *   * * * * * * * * * *
Characteristics of children with asthma                                         * * * * *

H. Childcare (only female R's in even years after 1986)

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Current childcare arrangements       * * * * * * *                              
Childcare during first 3 years of life               *   *       *   * * * * * * * * * *
Cost per week       *     * *   *                              
Number of hours per week       * * * * *   *                              
Is childcare a hindrance to R's work, school, or training       * * *       * *                            
Extent of various neighborhood problems                           *   * * * *            

I. Financial characteristics and program participation (note that all spouse items also refer to partners beginning in 1994)

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Total family income in previous calendar year * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Income of R and spouse in previous calendar year from:                                                  
Farm or own business * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *   * * * * *
Wages or salary * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Business or Professional Practice Investment or Ownership                                         *   *   *
Unemployment compensation * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Public assistance * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Food Stamps * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Targeted cash or noncash benefits                                   * *            
Pensions/Social Security * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Military service * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Veterans' benefits, workers' compensation, other disability (collected separately beginning in 2002) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Other sources * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
R receives government rent subsidy or public housing * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *    
Income from child support * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Child support expected vs. received                             * * * * *            
Rights to estate or trust; income from inheritances (since last interview)                                     * * * * * * *
R claimed Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on previous tax return, amount                                     * * * * * *  *
Possession of various assets (R and spouse)   * * * * * * * * * * *   * * * * * *   *   *    *
Asset market value (R and spouse)             * * * * * *   * * * * * *   *   *    *
Amount of debt             * * * * * *   * * * * * *   *   *    *
Amount spent on food, other than Food Stamps                       * * * * *           *      
Effect of 1996 welfare reform on R (shorter in 2000)                                   * *         *  
R receives targeted benefits from public assistance program (gas vouchers, childcare, and so forth)                                     *            
R ever declare bankruptcy                                         *   * * *
Home foreclosure                                               * *
R has a will                                                 *

J. Military service (current or past)

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Branch of Armed Forces * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Months spent in Armed Forces * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Military occupation(s) * * * * * * *                                    
ROTC or officer training *                                                
Reserve or guard activities * * * * * * *                                    
Pay grade and income * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Type and amount of military training * * * * * * *                                    
Does R use military skills on civilian job * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Formal education received while in service * * * * * * *                                    
Family members who have served on active duty         *                                        
Participation in Veteran's Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) (after 1985, with GI bill) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Attitude toward military service * * * * * * *                                    
Future military plans * * * * * * *                                    
Reason for entering and leaving military   * * * * * *                                    
Contact with military recruiters * * * * * * *                                    
Type of discharge   * *                                            
Enlistment or reenlistment bonuses received * * * * * * *                                    
Civilian job offer at time of discharge   * * * * * *                                    
Return to same employer after active duty   * * * * * *                                    

K. Educational and occupational aspirations and expectations

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Would R like more education or training; type *                                                
How much education desired and actually attained *   * *                                          
Kind of work R would like to be doing at age 35 *     *                                          
Expectation of achieving occupational goal *     *                                          

L. Attitudes

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Knowledge of World of Work score *                                                
Would R work if had enough money to live on *                                                
Characteristics of job R is willing to take (R unemployed or out of labor force) * * * * * * * *                                  
Reaction to hypothetical job offers *                                                
Internal-External Locus of Control Scale (Rotter) *                                                
Mastery Scale (Pearlin)                           *                      
Attitude toward women working *     *         *                       *        
Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg) (10 items)   *             *                         *      
CES-Depression Scale                           *   *   * * * * * * * *
Person having most influence on R, his or her responses to various situations *                                                
Retirement expectations                                         * * * * *
R risk aversion questions                                                * *

M. Retrospective evaluation of labor market experience

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Perception of age, race, and sex discrimination *     *                                          
Reason for problems in obtaining employment *     *                                          

N. Delinquency, drugs, and alcohol use

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Activities within last year (20 items)   *                                              
Income from illegal activities within last year   *                                              
Alcohol consumption in last week or month       * * * *     * *     *   *       *   * * *
Extent of cigarette use           *               *   *   *         * * *
Age R first smoked and stopped smoking cigarettes           * (first smoked only)               *   *   *              
Extent of marijuana use   *       *       *       *   *   *              
Age R first used marijuana           *       *       *   *   *              
Extent of cocaine use, age R first used           *       *       *   *   *              
Extent of "crack" cocaine use, age R first used                           *   *   *              
Ever used sedatives, barbiturates, and so forth           *               *   *   *              
Cigarette and alcohol use during pregnancy         * * * *   *   *   *   * * * * * * * * * *
Marijuana and cocaine use during pregnancy                   *   *   *   * * * * * * * * * *

O. Reported police contacts

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Number of times stopped by police   *                                              
Number of times booked or arrested   *                                              
Number of convictions, charges   *                                              
Number of times incarcerated; date of release   *                                              

P. Time use

Variable 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Use of time at various activities (school, work, watching TV, household chores, and so forth)     *                                            
Volunteerism/Philanthropy                                           *   * *