Military Service

Military Service

Created Variables

MILITARYyy. Military status at date of interview for each year. Most recent variable is MILITARY20 (Y46039.00) for 2020; available for 1994-2020.

The Young Adult dataset provides a history of military service for Young Adults over age 16, with detailed questions concerning up to two periods of service being asked in each survey round. Depending on their previous Young Adult interview status, respondents are asked either whether they have ever (for first time Young Adults) or since date of last interview (for previously interviewed Young Adults) been enlisted or sworn into any military branch. This section is similar to the military section in the NLS main Youth except that the questions for Young Adults are designed to gather more detailed information on military jobs and training. This section determines which service branches the Young Adult has been sworn into, the time period of service, and also accommodates delayed entry programs. Questions are further tailored depending upon whether service is in the reserves or on active duty. Respondents are also asked about their most recent military job and training and about schooling prior to and during service. 

Beginning in 2002, additional questions were targeted to reservists to determine whether they had ever been called into active duty and, if so, when. Beginning in 2010, a series of questions about service-related disabilities were asked of all respondents who have ever served in the military.

In 2008, a new sequence was added to find out about experiences either working as a civilian or being deployed in a foreign country during a combat period. All YAs over age 16 are asked the initial question. Respondents who answer that they have had such experiences are asked additional questions.

The military status variables, "MILITARYyy", constructed for each Young Adult interview round from 1994-2018, allow users to quickly ascertain the military status at the date of interview: not in the military, in the active forces, or in the Guards/Reserves. The military status variables, combined with the work and school status variables, allow users to identify the respondent’s activities in each of these realms at the date of each interview.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: The NLSY79 contains more than 1,600 variables pertaining to life in the Armed Forces, including information on military occupations, training, pay and bonuses. The NLSY79 originally included a military oversample, which was reduced in 1985 due to budgetary cutbacks.

NLSY97 respondents first state in which, if any, branch of the Armed Forces they serve and whether they serve in the regular forces, the reserves, or the National Guard. The survey then collects dates of service and occupational and pay information from respondents age 16 or older who report their employer as an active branch of the Armed Forces. Young Men provided similar information about military service, including pay and occupational data. Older Men reported the dates of any military service. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments Military employment-related questions are found in the Young Adult Instrument, Section 5, Military.
Area of Interest YA Military; YA Common Key Variables