Access Data / Investigator

NLS public-use data for each cohort are available at no cost via the Investigator, an online search and extraction site that enables you to review NLS variables and create your own data sets. It is not necessary to get an account to browse data, but an account is necessary to save datasets online.

The Investigator is designed to help you find the variables you need for your research. The data in the Investigator are linked to documentation resources that help you understand the variables and facilitate collaboration through shared user accounts. Available to users are the Investigator User's Guide, which describes how to use this website, as well as a tutorial that teaches how to search for variables in the Investigator. Our newest additions are video tutorials about Investigator.

It is recommended that users build custom data sets using Investigator for their particular research instead of downloading entire sets due to the extraordinarily large amount of NLS data. Each data set has over 100,000 variables, and with several thousand respondents in each cohort, this involves several hundred million data points. For users who have the capacity to utilize extremely large data files and the programs to handle them, downloads are available for accessing cohort data.

Information about gaining permission to access restricted-use geographic and NLSY97 school survey data is available on the Accessing Data page.