NLS Youth '79 Cohort

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth - 1979 Cohort
Short Description: 
Men and women born in the years 1957-64
Short Title: 
NLS Youth 1979
Long Name: 
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth | 1979
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Standard Errors & Design Effects

This section contains information on standard errors and design effects for the NLSY79 sample, briefly discussing how to use these two statistical factors. It then includes tables for the first round and for 1996 through 2020.

Sample Weights & Clustering Adjustments

Sample Weights

In each survey year a set of sampling weights is constructed. These weights provide the researcher with an estimate of how many individuals in the United States each respondent's answers represent. Weighting decisions for the NLSY79 are guided by the following principles:

Types of Variables

There are six types of variables present in the NLSY79 data. Some are the raw answers provided by the respondent, while others are constructed. Types of variables include:

Survey Instruments

The primary variables found within the main data set are derived directly from survey instruments, such as questionnaires, household interview forms, and so forth. This section describes each of the NLSY79 instruments in the order that they appear within Table 1. It also explains the conventions used in the NLSY79 documentation system to identify questionnaire items from some of the primary survey instruments.

Retention & Reasons for Noninterview

Retention vs. Response Rate

Retention rates for NLSY79 respondents from 1979 to 1993 exceeded 90 percent. Rates from 1994 until 2000 exceeded 80 percent. Rates from 2002 until 2014 were in the 70s. Retention rate is calculated by dividing the number of respondents interviewed by the number of respondents remaining eligible for interview. All 1979 (round 1) respondents including those reported as deceased are eligible for interviews, with the exception of those who have been permanently dropped from the sample.

Confidentiality & Informed Consent

The NLS program has established set procedures for ensuring respondent confidentiality and obtaining informed consent. These procedures comply with Federal law and the policies and guidelines of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Interview Methods

Interview Methods and Target Universe

During each survey round, NORC attempts to reach all youth within the active samples. No respondents have been routinely excluded from locating efforts with the exception of respondents who have died or, in a small number of cases, were judged to be extremely difficult.

The NLSY79 Sample: An Introduction

Official Title. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), part of the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS) program

Age of cohort. Born between 1957 and 1964. At the time of first interview, respondents' ages ranged from 14 to 22. The respondents were 55 to 64 at the time of their 2020 interviews (the most recent survey year).

Number of respondents in survey. 12,686 individuals initially interviewed in 1979.

Work History Data


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