Important Information About Using Gender Data

During screening, sex was determined by observation and asked directly of respondents only if it was "not obvious" to the interviewer. On March 1, 1986, 'Sex of R' was changed for 45 cases as a result of inconsistencies generated from interviewer checks for respondent's sex in the fertility section of the 1982 survey instrument; three additional cases were changed shortly thereafter.  Each of these cases was verified by NORC for accuracy.  'Sex of R' (R02148.) for the following identification codes (R00001.) was changed:

  • From male to female:  712, 1306, 1933, 2212, 2286, 2287, 2433, 3960, 4157, 6102, 7571, 7645, 7890, 8542, 8690, 8826, 9150, 9713, 10511, and 12676
  • From female to male:  1663, 3388, 3582, 3583, 3865, 4524, 4579, 4917, 5929, 6198, 6360, 6466, 6840, 7620, 7624, 8321, 8543, 8596, 9166, 9555, 10347, 11110, 11114, 12257, and 12387

The variable series 'Int Remarks - Sex of R,' provides interviewers' observations of the sex of the respondent for the 1982-1986 and 1988-1998 survey years.  These observations are subject to a small degree of error from erroneous interviewer observation or recoding and data entry error.  When using this series of variables, a small number of respondents may appear to "change" sex across surveys.

Variables available within the NLSY79 provide information on the sex of each respondent, their children, and members of their household.  Information on the sex of the respondent can be found in:

  • a single 1979 variable, 'Sex of R' (R02148)
  • a set of yearly interviewer remarks variables, 'Int Remarks - Sex of R' 

The 1979 'Sex of R' variable (R02148.) is derived from R01736., 'Sample Identification Code,' a variable which defines each respondent's membership in one of the subsamples that compose the NLSY79 (such as the "cross-sectional male, nonblack/non-Hispanic poor," "supplemental female black," and so forth).  Subsample identification was based on information gathered during the 1978 household screening.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: Sex for all biological children born to female members of the NLSY79 is available.  Information on sex is also available for the NLSY97.  Sex is implicit by membership in the Original Cohorts.  For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments and Documentation A copy of the 1978 Household Screener used to collect information on sex of the respondent and other household members can be found in the Household Screener and Interviewer's Reference Manual (NORC 1978).  Interviewer observations are recorded in the final section of each questionnaire, entitled "Interviewer's Remarks."  Household members' sex is collected during the administration of the Household Interview Forms.  A copy of the Information Sheet, containing sex of respondents' children, can be found near the beginning of the yearly Question by Question Specifications.  The CRF is a separate child "inventory" referenced in the "Fertility" section of the questionnaire; sample copies can be found in the Question by Question Specifications.  Finally, a general description of the derivation of the Supplemental Fertility File variables, such as sex of children, appears in Appendix 5 in the NLSY79 Codebook Supplement.
Areas of Interest All sex variables discussed above are located on the main NLSY79 data set.  'Sex of R' (R02148.) and the 'Sample Identification Code' (R01736.) can be found in the "Common" area of interest, while the interviewer remarks variables are located in "Interviewer Remarks."  The Supplemental Fertility File variables have been placed in "Fertility and Relationship History/Created."  Children's sex, listed separately for biological and nonbiological children on the CRF, are in area of interest "Child Record Form/Biological" and "Child Record Form/Nonbiological," respectively.  Variables collected during the household interview can be found in "Household Record," and variables from the Household Screener are housed in "Misc.