About the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS)

The NLS, sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are nationally representative surveys that follow the same sample of individuals from specific birth cohorts over time. The surveys collect data on labor market activity, schooling, fertility, program participation, health, and much, much more. Choose a cohort below to learn more.

Who Are You?

Please indicate your NLS experience so we can direct you to a page that focuses on your needs:

Need Help Using NLS Data?

Explore the Tutorials

Learn how to approach research projects, search for and extract data, and then program with NLS data.


Introduction to the Investigator

Learn how to use the online NLS data search and extraction site to create your own data sets.


NLS Learning Opportunities

Check out this page for upcoming NLS workshops and information about conferences where NLS User Services staff will be available to answer your NLS questions.

Latest Information from the NLS


CALL FOR NLS-RELATED RESEARCH: The Journal of Marriage and Family is currently accepting submissions for its August 2016 special issue celebrating 50 years of the National Longitudinal Surveys. Papers are due April 1, 2015.  This issue will be guest edited by Elizabeth Cooksey and will focus on family research undertaken using any of the NLS datasets: The Young Men’s Survey; the Young Women’s Survey; the Older Men’s Survey; the Mature Women’s Survey; the NLSY79; the NLSY79 Child and/or Young Adult Surveys, and the NLSY97. JMF welcomes original research utilizing a single NLS dataset or multiple NLS datasets, as well as national or international comparative work where NLS data are employed. An introduction to the issue will be provided giving background information on each of the NLS datasets used in selected papers so there is no need for authors to provide in-depth information on dataset history or data collection methods used, although explanations of variable choice and sample restrictions should be given. Complete instructions for preparing and submitting manuscripts online are provided at http://www.ncfr.org/jmf/submit-jmf. In your submission letter, please indicate your desire for the manuscript to be considered for the “Special Issue Celebrating 50 Years of the National Longitudinal Surveys.” Submissions will undergo a peer review process just as regular submissions to the journal. A $25 processing fee will be collected at the time of submission. Need assistance? Contact editorial office at jmf@prc.utexas.edu.


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Visit NLS Investigator to explore and download data. Newest data release: NLSY79 Child/Young Adult 1986-2012 dataset


The latest issue of NLS News is available here. Highlights include:

  • NLSY79 round 25 data release includes new variables about childhood health, financial literacy, and business ownership
  • Postsecondary transcript data files now available for NLSY97 cohort
  • NLSY97 arrest and incarceration variables updated for rounds 14 and 15