Appendix 14: NLSY97 COVID-19 Supplement

Appendix 14: NLSY97 COVID-19 Supplement

In an effort to document the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment and health of Americans, the Bureau of Labor Statistics funded a short NLSY97 COVID-19 Supplement, fielded from February through May 2021.

In total, 8,490 NLSY97 respondents were invited to participate in the NLSY97 COVID-19 Supplement (this did not include the 207 deceased sample members and the 287 who were not fielded in Round 19 due to hostile behavior toward the study).

Respondents received postal and/or email invitations to complete a short (about 12 minute) web questionnaire about their experiences during the COVID pandemic. Additional multi-mode outreach included e-mails, postal mail, and/or telephone calls from NORC field staff. Although the interview itself was most often completed online by respondents themselves, the vast majority of respondents received outreach from NORC field interviewers before complying with the interview request. Altogether, 5,616 NLSY97 respondents completed the interview, with 4,785 respondents completing online and 831 completing by telephone with an interviewer.

The NLSY97 COVID-19 Supplement gathered the following data:

  • Background information on respondent's household:
    • Number of people currently living in household
    • Number under age 18
    • Number under age 6
    • Spouse or partner currently living in household
  • Employment during week prior to interview:
    • If working: Hours worked at all jobs /hours worked at home, frequency of close contact at work
    • If temporarily absent: Reason for temporary absence, whether absence related to COVID-19 pandemic, if had been working--frequency of close contact with others
    • If not working for pay: reason not working for pay, whether reason related to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Spouse’s/partner’s employment during week prior to interview:
    • Hours worked at all jobs
    • Hours worked at home
  • Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on employment in the last 12 months:
    • Stopped working for employer
    • Started working for new employer
    • Hours decreased
    • Hours increased
    • Earnings decreased
    • Earnings increased
  • Schooling of children in household during week prior to interview:
    • School type
    • Any in-person classes
    • Any remote learning
    • Last week, remote or distance learning for children under 18 years old living in my household made it difficult for me to work or do other household tasks (agree or disagree with statement)
  • Health:
    • Self-rating of health status
    • Ever told by health professional that tested positive for COVID
    • Mental health assessment questions (CES-D Depression Scale)

COVID-19 supplement data are intended as a supplement to the main interviews for Round 19 (conducted in 2019-2020) and Round 20 (conducted in 2021-2022). The supplement questionnaire has a simpler structure than the main NLSY97 questionnaire. COVID-19 supplement data on respondents' jobs and household members are not assigned identifiers that link to jobs and household members in other rounds' data. Round 20 expanded upon the survey's COVID-19 data collection, with additional questions ranging from impacts on respondents’ jobs to finances to health.

In addition to the questionnaire data, researchers may also access methodology variables that describe the COVID-19 supplement data collection process, including mode of interview, incentives offered and received, date of interview, gaining cooperation efforts, and the data collection team's assessment of the respondent's internet access as of the Round 19 fielding period. Incentives ranged from $10 to $25 depending on respondent characteristics.

To access the COVID-19 Supplement data, select the NLSY97 Cohort at