Geographic Indicators

Geographic Indicators

Created Variables

CV_URBAN-RURAL. Indicates whether respondent lives in an urban or rural area

CV_MSA. Indicates whether or not the respondent lives in a Metropolitan Statistical Area

CV_CENSUS_REGION. Provides Census region where the respondent resides (Northeast, North Central, South, or West)

CV_MIGRATE.XX. Describes moves made by the respondent within a county, within a state to a different county, between states, and to and from a foreign country. Available for rounds 2 and up.

CV_DISTANCE_MOM_COL and CV_DISTANCE_DAD_COL. Provide the distance in miles between the respondent's address and the reported address of the respondent's mother and father. Available for rounds 7 and up. Note: Addresses that were not full street addresses were given the longitude and latitude of the centroid of their zipcodes. Data quality variables (CV_DISTANCE_MOM_QUALITY, for example) were created to indicate whether or not the addresses were zip centroided.

CVC_TTL_RESIDENCES. Provides total number of different residences since age 12.

The geographic indicator variables are created to describe the respondent's area of residence. A software package that assigns latitude and longitude information to respondent addresses is used. Latitude and longitude are then used to link respondent addresses to standard geographic information such as state, county, and metropolitan statistical area. See the NLSY97 Geocode Codebook Supplement introduction for more information about the use of programs used to assign latitude and longitude.

Figure 1. Number of NLSY97 Respondents and States by Census Region

Census Division # of Respondents
Rnd 1 Rnd 2 Rnd 3 Rnd 4 Rnd 5 Rnd 6 Rnd 7 Rnd 8 Rnd 9 Rnd 10 Rnd 11 Rnd 12 Rnd 13 Rnd 14 Rnd 15 Rnd 16 Rnd 17 Rnd 18
Region 1, Northeast
(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont)
1585 1451 1403 1391 1336 1333 1282 1219 1182 1187 1131 1162 1160  1157 1140 1079 1089 1023
Region 2, North Central
(Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin)
2050 1903 1835 1772 1734 1741 1727 1641 1600 1628 1581 1564 1576 1546 1515 1487 1440 1368
Region 3, South
(Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia)
3359 3160 3116 3074 3004 3032 3004 2927 2883 3002 2975 3019 3061  3035 3020 2913 2901 2770
Region 4, West
(Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
1990 1846 1834 1808 1770 1736 1701 1676 1638 1698 1676 1688 1713  1684 1682 1594 1603 1499
Reside abroad -- 22 18 14 17 27 23 38 35 39 47 51 49 54 66 65 68 69
Data missing -- 4 2 21 21 27 17 1 -- 5 8 6 --  3 -- 3 2 5
Note: Table based on CV_CENSUS_REGION.

In addition, variables were created in round 1 to describe the respondent's residence as of his or her 12th birthday; another counts the number of residences in which the respondent has lived from his or her 12th birthday until the survey date (all rounds). See Youth Residential History for more details on these variables.

Geocode CD. The NLSY97 Geocode CD provides a variety of statistics for the counties where respondents lived at each interview date. From rounds 1-5, most of these data are based on the 1994 edition of the U.S. Census Bureau's County and City Data Book (the most recent edition available). The first group of geocode variables lists basic demographic information for respondents' counties. These data include land area in square miles; population by race, age, and gender; and birth and death rates. Another variable reports the percent of persons in that county who lived in a different house and/or state in 1990 compared to their residence in 1985, providing information about migration rates for the respondent's area. Also included are the FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) codes for state and county (see Attachment 100 of the NLSY97 Geocode Codebook Supplement).

Factors that might influence the respondent's education and employment outcomes are the focus of several other geocode variables. These provide the number of serious crimes, households with children, female householders with no spouse present, persons with high school or college degrees, and families below the poverty level. A pair of variables summarizes medical availability for each county, reporting the number of active nonfederal physicians and community hospital beds.

Geocode variables associated with economic and labor force issues include the size of the county's civilian labor force, the percent employed in various industries, and the percent of workers age 16 and older with jobs outside their county of residence. Income variables include per capita money income for the respondent's county, per capita personal income, and median family money income. County and City Data Book information is not included in the Geocode CD for rounds 6 and later. Information on obtaining the most recent County and City Data Book data is available at The unemployment rates for the respondent's metropolitan areas or for the portions of the state not in an MSA (for non-MSA respondents) are calculated from other sources for all rounds.

Other geocode variables involve colleges attended by respondents. Survey staff use information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) to provide users with a code identifying each college attended by the respondent and its location. These codes can be used to associate the NLSY97 respondent's college with various characteristics of the institution contained in the IPEDS database. More information is located in Attachment 102 of the NLSY97 Geocode Codebook Supplement.

In addition, to support research on respondent mobility, survey staff created series of geocode variables for the distance between respondent addresses at each interview round. The data do not provide a location for the respondent's residence; rather, these variables provide distances between the various places the respondent has lived. Staff also created indicators of the quality of the geographic data. More information is located in Attachment 103 of the NLSY97 Geocode Codebook Supplement.

Due to the detailed nature of the information found on the Geocode CD, use of this data set is restricted to those meeting confidentiality requirements. The Geocode CD is released only to those who satisfactorily complete the Bureau of Labor Statistics geocode agreement procedure. The application for this geocode agreement is now available online at Researchers interested in the geocode data can view a complete set of codebook pages in Attachment 104 of the NLSY97 Geocode Codebook Supplement. These codebook pages show frequency distributions and answer categories for the restricted-use geocode variables and may help users to determine whether the NLSY97 geocode data and sample sizes will be appropriate for their research interests.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: Data on the respondent's area of residence are available for all cohorts. For the NLSY79, information on the respondent's region of residence and geographic mobility is available to all users on the main public data file; more detailed information (e.g., state and county of residence) is available on the restricted-use Geocode CD. Data on NLSY79 Children are available through the mother's record. Region of residence and geographic mobility of Original Cohort respondents are provided for most survey years. For more complete information, refer to the appropriate cohort's User's Guide.

Main Area of Interest Geographic Indicators