NLSY79 Children

NLS Youth '79 Child & Young Adult Cohort

Short Description: 
Biological children of women in the NLSY79
Short Title: 
NLSY79 Child and Young Adult
Long Name: 
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Child and Young Adult
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Nav Title: 
NLSY79 Child/YA

Types of Variables

The NLSY79 Child and Young Adult data release contains comprehensive information from the 1986 through the current survey round. The file also contains child-specific information from the mother's main Youth interviews. Certain variables are derived from the mother's longitudinal record while other data items represent the questions administered during the Child and Young Adult interviews and the responses from each child assessment.

Question Names & Reference Numbers

Each NLSY79 child variable has a "question name" that helps to identify it in the data file and permits users to locate the original question in the questionnaire. Variables in the NLSY79 child data are generally named according to the source from which they are derived. Items from the Child, Mother, and Child Self-Administered supplements have question names linked to the location in the instrument.

Young Adult Survey Instrument Structure and Content

When the Young Adult survey was first designed for the 1994 survey round, many of the CAPI sections exactly paralleled those administered to the main NLSY79 respondents. Other sections of the questionnaire were tailored for this cohort. One important part of the design process was to review the 1979 NLSY79 questionnaire to consider where Young Adults could be asked questions that were essentially the same as those that had been asked of their mothers in their first survey round.

Survey Instruments

Multiple field instruments, in both paper and computer-administered format, have been used to collect information from and about the NLSY79 children. These instruments are used to assess the children and to elicit reports about their health, aptitudes, achievement, attitudes, relationships and behaviors. A brief description of these instruments is presented below.

Financial Strain

Three questions about self-perceived financial strain were asked of Young Adults for the first time in 2000 and have been asked each round since then:

Crime, Delinquency & Antisocial Behavior

Cigarette & Drug Use

Alcohol Use




The child survey has regularly collected a range of detailed information on each child's current health conditions and health history. Table 1 gives an overview of the types of reports of physical development and mental health asked over the survey rounds for children.

Public Assistance Support Sources

All survey years have included questions about public assistance income sources. The most detail has been asked about:


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