Marriage and Children

Dating/Sex, Marriage/Cohabitation & Fertility/Children: An Introduction

The NLSY97 survey provides data on respondents' experiences with dating and sexual activity, marriage or marriage-like relationships, pregnancy, and children. Table 1 summarizes the topics available and any global universe restrictions affecting those topics. 

Table 1. Dating/Sex, Marriage/Cohabitation & Fertility/Children Topics and Universe Restrictions

NLSY97 User's Guide Topic Round 1 Universe Round 2 Universe Rounds 3 and 4 Universe   Rounds 5 and up
Sexual Activity & Dating        
  Dating all ages all ages all ages all ages
  Intercourse & Pregnancy >14 >=14 as of 12/31/97 all ages all ages
  Birth Control Use >14 >=14 as of 12/31/97 all ages all ages
Marital & Marriage-Like Relationships Includes marital and cohabitation status, as well as details on spouse/partner. For rounds 1-8, a marriage-like relationship was defined as a sexual relationship in which partners of the opposite sex live together; in rounds 9 and up, the phrase "of the opposite sex" was removed from the definition.  >=16 as of 12/31/96 >=16 as of 12/31/97 >=16 as of 12/31/98 (R3) or 12/31/99 (R4) all ages
Fertility, Pregnancy & Children        
  Pregnancies not ending in live birth Female >=14 as of 12/31/96 >=14 as of 12/31/97 all ages all ages
  Fertility and children Information gathered on respondents giving birth and fathering children. Details about each live birth include birth date, gender, residence. all ages all ages all ages all ages
  Adopted children Details about adopted children include birthdate, gender, residence, etc. child reported on household (HH) roster >=17 as of 12/31/97 or child on HH roster >=17 as of 12/31/98 (R3) or 12/31/99 (R4) or child on HH roster all ages
Child Care Includes type of child care used, number of hours, who paid for child care, etc. -- -- -- Females with resident child under age 13 answer basic child care questions. Rounds 5, 9, 12, 15, and 17 included an expanded series of questions that provided more details about child care, along with some questions about hypothetical child care asked to respondents without children.