About the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS)

The NLS, sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are nationally representative surveys that follow the same sample of individuals from specific birth cohorts over time. The surveys collect data on labor market activity, schooling, fertility, program participation, health, and much, much more. Choose a cohort below to learn more.

Who Are You?

Please indicate your NLS experience so we can direct you to a page that focuses on your needs:

Need Help Using NLS Data?

Explore the Tutorials

Learn how to approach research projects, search for and extract data, and then program with NLS data.


Introduction to the Investigator

Learn how to use the online NLS data search and extraction site to create your own data sets.


NLS Learning Opportunities: Booth Schedule at Conferences

Going to a professional conference soon? The NLS User Services booth makes an appearance at several conferences throughout the year. Stop by to get some hands-on instruction (or just to say hi). 

Latest Information from the NLS

**NLSY97 TIMINGS DATASET NOW AVAILABLE. A new separate dataset of variable timings has been released for the NLSY97. The timings, which measure the time of the respondent's interaction on a particular question during the interview, are mainly for questions related to sexual activity, pregnancy, smoking, drug use, delinquent behaviors, criminal activity, and expectations. To access the dataset, go to www.nlsinfo.org/investigator and choose "NLSY97" in the cohort selection list, then choose "Select Timings." More details can be found at https://www.nlsinfo.org/content/cohorts/nlsy97/using-and-understanding-the-data/item-nonresponse-interview-timings#dataset.


NEW RELEASE JULY 16, 2019: NLSY79 Child & Young Adult Dataset. Includes data from 1986 through 2016. The Child/YA cohort follows the biological children of the women in the NLSY79. To access public data, use NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


Cross-Cohort Dataset (Beta Version) Available: We have released an NLSY79/NLSY97 beta dataset designed to harmonize NLS data across two cohorts, allowing users added opportunities to perform cross-cohort comparisons. Initially the dataset includes interview date, reason for noninterview, age, marital status, highest grade attended, highest grade completed, and employment status, with possible expansion to over 100 variables. Fixed background variables are also included, such as sex, race, and AFQT score. See Appendix 13 for more information.


Data Release [February 2019]: NLSY79 1979-2016 Dataset. The NLSY79 follows the lives of a sample of Americans born between 1957-1964. The new release contains 27 rounds of data and is available to the public through NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


Newest NLS brochures: New Questions in the NLSY79 and NLSY79 Young Adult Surveys (what's new in the latest rounds) and Original Cohorts Fact Sheet (info on all four original cohorts compiled in one brochure; single cohort brochures still available as well). 


Now Available: Video Tutorials for NLS Investigator. We've added four video tutorials to help you access and use our NLS datasets: "Introduction to the NLS Investigator," "Getting Started: Investigator Interface," "Variable Search," and "How to Import NLS Data into Statistical Software." View the videos at https://www.nlsinfo.org/access-data-investigator/investigator-user-guide/video-tutorials.


NLS Brochures and Data Briefs available as PDFs. Need some quick info about the NLS to hand out in your classroom or give to a colleague? Click here for access to PDFs of our brochures and data briefs. The NLS brochures cover a variety of topics for all cohorts, while the data briefs are more specific to the NLSY79 Child & Young Adult datasets.


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Visit NLS Investigator to explore and download data.