Characteristics of Non-Residential Relatives

Characteristics of Non-Residential Relatives

Important Information About Characteristics of Non-Residential Relatives Data

1. During the interview, the survey program organized the informant's answers to questions about nonresident relatives into a "nonresident roster." This grid of data is the best source of information about these relatives and should be used instead of the raw data in analyses.

2. After data on nonresident relatives were collected during the administration of the round 1 Screener, Household Roster, and Nonresident Roster Questionnaire, the information was organized into a nonresident relative roster. This roster was maintained in subsequent rounds even though no additional questions were asked about most nonresident relatives. Before using these data, researchers should make sure to read the information in this section that describes how the roster functions in rounds after the initial interview.

3. Although questions about nonresident relatives were not asked after round 1, this roster does contain updated information about the respondent's nonresident biological, step-, or adoptive parents. In addition, anyone who was previously a member of the youth's household but who left that household is moved to the nonresident roster. This permits the unique ID code (UID) of that person to be maintained across rounds. If the person later returns to the respondent's household, he or she will be moved back onto the household roster. The UID code can also be used to track nonresident parents across rounds if their information is updated.

In round 1, the household informant provided information about key relatives of the youth who lived outside of the household. In subsequent rounds (up through round 6), the household information section of the Youth Questionnaire collected limited information about biological, step, or adoptive parents who lived outside of the youth's household. This section describes only Screener and Youth Questionnaire information. The round 1 Parent Questionnaire gathered additional background information about nonresident parents; these data are described in Parent Characteristics.

Screener, Household Roster, and Nonresident Roster Questionnaire (round 1). This section describes the data available from the nonresident roster portion of this instrument. It gathered the relationship and status of the youth's nonresident immediate family, including biological, adopted, or stepparents; siblings; spouses; partners; and children. The demographic data collected for these family members are summarized in Table 1 below. Please note that some characteristics, such as gender and marital status, may be inferred from the nonresident's relationship to the youth.

Table 1. Data Collected for Nonresident Relatives in Round 1

Relationship Gender Race/
Age Marital Status
Highest Grade
Level Attained
Highest Degree Attained1

Status in 1996
Biological parent   * * * * * *
Adoptive parent2   * *   * * *
Stepparent2         * *  
Full or half sibling3 *   *   * *  
Spouse of youth         * * *
Children of youth4 *       * *  
Parent of youth's children       *      
1 This information was only collected if that relative was age 17 or older.
2 Information on step- or adoptive parents was collected only if the parent lived with one of the youth's biological parents.
3 Data on full- or half-siblings were collected only if they do not live with either of the youth's biological parents.
4 This information was only collected if the youth is age 14 or older.

Additional information about a nonresident biological parent includes the number of miles the youth lived from that parent, the members of that parent's household, and the relationship of each member of that parent's household to the youth. For each nonresident biological child of the youth, the survey collected information on the person the child lived with (e.g., other biological parent, foster parent, adoptive parent, other) and the distance between the child's current residence and the youth's current residence. If nonresident children lived with the other biological parent, the respondent provided additional data on the individuals the other parent lived with (e.g., no other adults, other biological parent's spouse, other biological parent's partner, other biological parent's parents, other relatives). 

If the youth's biological parent, full sibling, or child was reported as being deceased, additional information on his or her gender, the year he or she died, and his or her age at death was also gathered.

Youth Questionnaire (rounds 2-6). Although the full set of nonresident questions was not repeated after round 1, subsequent questionnaires collected limited information on biological, step-, and adoptive parents who resided elsewhere. This section focused mainly on whether the youth lived with the nonresident parent at any time between the youth interviews. A series of questions also established whether any nonresident parents shared custody of the youth. Marital status of nonresident parents was collected in rounds 5 and 6 in the Youth Household Information section. The variable indicating the relationship of the parent is PREVNONHHIPARENT_RELY. 

To organize the information about household residents and nonresident relatives, two rosters were created during the administration of the Screener, Household Roster, and Nonresident Roster Questionnaire. The first, the household roster, included information for all residents of the respondent's permanent household at the time of the round 1 interview. For easy identification, all variables on the household roster were assigned question names that begin with "HHI2_." The second key roster is the nonresident roster, which presents information about the youth's nonresident relatives. Question names of nonresident roster variables begin with "NONHHI_." 

Two additional rosters, described in detail in Household Composition, were then created using screener data provided by the household informant, modified with the youth respondent as the focus. The YOUTH roster was used during the youth interview, and the PARYOUTH roster was used during the parent interview (if a parent interview was conducted). 

Much of the information contained in the rosters actually appears in the data set more than once, first at the point in the interview when the raw data were actually collected and then in the roster. Survey staff strongly recommend that researchers use the roster information whenever possible, as it is more accurate and easier to use than the raw data. Roster items can be identified through their unique question names as described above.

Using the nonresident roster. The nonresident roster is similar to--but somewhat simpler than--the household roster. Although the roster is not sorted in any particular manner, each person about whom information is collected appears at the same point in the roster for each item. Thus, researchers can easily identify the key characteristics of a given nonresident relative. Different information was collected about nonresident relatives depending on their relationship to the youth, as depicted in Table 1 above.

Researchers often want to identify the respondent's biological mother and father so that they can use the information collected in the nonresident roster and connect it to data collected in other sections of the survey. To facilitate this process, the round 1 data include identification variables that indicate the ID numbers of the nonresident mother (R05351.) and father (R05350.) on the roster. For example, if the youth's biological mother does not reside in the youth's household, the nonresident mother ID variable provides the position of the biological mother on the nonresident roster. If the value of this variable is 3, then all nonresident roster variables referring to person 3 contain information about the youth's mother. 

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: For the Children of the NLSY79, data are available about the education, occupation, and geographic residence of the child's nonresident biological father. Two surveys of the NLSY79, two surveys of the Mature Women, and six surveys of the Young Women have collected demographic information on the respondent's nonresident siblings. For more complete information, refer to the appropriate cohort's User's Guide

Survey Instruments: Questions are found in the nonresident roster section of the round 1 Screener, Household Roster, and Nonresident Roster Questionnaire.

Related User's Guide Sections Household Composition
Parent Characteristics
Main Area of Interest Parents: Non-Res. Characteristics
Supplemental Areas of Interest Parent Current Status
Parent Retrospective
Screener Non-Resident