Topics Covered in NLS Surveys

The NLS surveys contain a wide array of topics. The general categories are shown below with some examples of the variables included in the surveys:

  • Education, Training, and Achievement Scores: information about high school and college experience, types of training, and cognitive test scores
  • Employment: extensive history of employment over time, including wages, hours, occupation, industry, and job search.
  • Household, Geography, and Contextual Variables: household composition, location, and demographics
  • Dating, Marriage, and Cohabitation: dating history, marital status and changes, and cohabitation history
  • Sexual Activity, Pregnancy, and Fertility: contraceptive use, pregnancy details, and child birth dates
  • Children: number of children, birth dates, characteristics, and residence status
  • Parents, Family Process, and Childhood: information about respondents’ parents, parenting behaviors, and childhood
  • Income, Assets, and Program Participation: household income, types of assets, and participation in government assistance programs
  • Health: Health status, weight, and health conditions
  • Attitudes, Expectations, and Non-Cognitive Tests: personality traits, expectations about the future, locus of control
  • Crime and Substance Use: criminal behavior, alcohol, and drug use
  • Survey Methodology: Sampling weights, interviewer characteristics, sample type

Each cohort has an on-line User’s Guide, which describes the topics covered in the surveys. These guides are a good place to start to find out the general information available in each of the surveys. The guides are available here:

Within these guides, see the cohort-specific asterisk tables, which provide the variables available within a topical area, and the years the questions were asked.