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.

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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: NLS Booth Schedule at Conferences

The NLS Booth will be in person at several professional conferences this year. Stop by to say hi and to get information about our latest data releases. 

Latest Information from the NLS

BLS News Release on NLSY79: Check out the latest BLS news release covering the NLSY79 data for rounds 1-29. This news update is available on the BLS economic news releases page


**NEW RELEASE MARCH 8, 2023: NLSY79 Dataset. Includes data from 1979 through 2020 (Rounds 1-29). To access public data, use NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


NEW RELEASE NOVEMBER 1, 2021: NLSY97 Dataset. This dataset contains data from 1997 through 2019 (Rounds 1-19), plus the NLSY97 COVID-19 Supplement data from earlier this year. To access public data, use NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator). 


NEW RELEASE AUGUST 27, 2021: NLSY97 COVID Supplement. A short NLSY97 COVID survey was fielded in the first half of 2021 to document the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment and health of the NLSY97 cohort. This data set is now available on NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator). More information can be found in Appendix 14: NLSY97 COVID-19 Supplement.


NEW RELEASE FEBRUARY 5, 2021: NLSY79 Child & Young Adult Dataset. Includes data from 1986 through 2018. The Child/YA cohort follows the biological children of the women in the NLSY79. To access public data, use NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


NEW RELEASE JANUARY 6, 2021: NLSY79 Dataset.  Includes data from 1979 through 2018 (Rounds 1-28). To access public data, use NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


RE-RELEASE OF THE NLSY97 DATA. We have re-released the NLSY97 public-use Rounds 1-18 data with some updates. A comprehensive review of the created wage variables CV_HRLY_COMPENSATION and CV_HRLY_PAY led to updates to a number of these created variables and select underlying raw data through all rounds. See the Errata for details. The re-release also includes a small number of corrections to the created incarceration variables and to invalid dates for freelance job start dates; these are also detailed on the errata page. The dataset can be accessed at NLS Investigator.


NEW RELEASE DECEMBER 6, 2019: NLSY97 Dataset.  Includes data from 1997 through 2017 (Rounds 1-18). To access public data, use NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


NLSY97 TIMINGS DATASET NOW AVAILABLE. A new separate dataset of variable timings has been released for the NLSY97. The timings, which measure the time of the respondent's interaction on a particular question during the interview, are mainly for questions related to sexual activity, pregnancy, smoking, drug use, delinquent behaviors, criminal activity, and expectations. To access the dataset, go to www.nlsinfo.org/investigator and choose "NLSY97" in the cohort selection list, then choose "Select Timings." More details can be found at https://www.nlsinfo.org/content/cohorts/nlsy97/using-and-understanding-the-data/item-nonresponse-interview-timings#dataset.


NEW RELEASE JULY 16, 2019: NLSY79 Child & Young Adult Dataset. Includes data from 1986 through 2016. The Child/YA cohort follows the biological children of the women in the NLSY79. To access public data, use NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


Cross-Cohort Dataset (Beta Version) Available: We have released an NLSY79/NLSY97 beta dataset designed to harmonize NLS data across two cohorts, allowing users added opportunities to perform cross-cohort comparisons. Initially the dataset includes interview date, reason for noninterview, age, marital status, highest grade attended, highest grade completed, and employment status, with possible expansion to over 100 variables. Fixed background variables are also included, such as sex, race, and AFQT score. See Appendix 13 for more information.


Data Release [February 2019]: NLSY79 1979-2016 Dataset. The NLSY79 follows the lives of a sample of Americans born between 1957-1964. The new release contains 27 rounds of data and is available to the public through NLS Investigator (www.nlsinfo.org/investigator).


Now Available: Video Tutorials for NLS Investigator. We've added four video tutorials to help you access and use our NLS datasets: "Introduction to the NLS Investigator," "Getting Started: Investigator Interface," "Variable Search," and "How to Import NLS Data into Statistical Software." View the videos at https://www.nlsinfo.org/access-data-investigator/investigator-user-guide/video-tutorials.


NLS Brochures and Data Briefs available as PDFs. Need some quick info about the NLS to hand out in your classroom or give to a colleague? Click here for access to PDFs of our brochures and data briefs. The NLS brochures cover a variety of topics for all cohorts, while the data briefs are more specific to the NLSY79 Child & Young Adult datasets.


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