Retention & Reasons for Noninterview

Retention & Reasons for Noninterview

Reasons for Noninterview

A 'Reason for Noninterview' variable is constructed for each survey year (excluding 1979) in the NLSY79 and provides an explanation of why an interview could not be conducted or completed with a respondent. The cause of noninterview is assigned by the NORC interviewer to each respondent designated as a member of the eligible sample for a given survey year. Typical coding categories have included reasons such as an interview being refused by the respondent or by the respondent's parent, the respondent or family unit not being located, or the respondent being reported as deceased.

Beginning in the 1980s, two administrative categories were added. One reflected a decision by NORC not to attempt to interview certain sample members who were determined to be extremely difficult to interview. The second category indicates that, due to funding cutbacks, interviews would not be attempted with certain members of one or more of the NLSY79 subsamples. Thus, beginning in 1985, interviews ceased for 1,079 respondent members of the military subsample; each was permanently assigned a reason for noninterview of "military sample dropped." A second group of respondents, those belonging to the supplemental economically disadvantaged, nonblack/non-Hispanic sample, was similarly dropped from interviewing beginning with the 1991 survey. The target universe for each survey year--that is, the respondents whom NORC attempts to interview--thus includes all respondents interviewed in the initial survey year exclusive of those who were:

  1. reported deceased at an earlier interview
  2. dropped from the sample
  3. judged to be extremely difficult to interview

 

Important Information

Reasons for noninterview may change for a given respondent between noninterview years, even if those years are contiguous. Some codes, such as "parent refusal/break off," have become virtually obsolete over time with the aging of the cohort. Other codes should be considered relatively permanent, such as those applied to the reported death of a respondent. (Users should be aware that false reports of death have been used to avoid being interviewed. NORC attempts to verify these reports by obtaining death certificate information or newspaper obituaries.)

The coding of deceased members of the two subsamples dropped from interviewing in 1985 and 1991 has not been handled consistently. Those respondents of the military sample reported deceased during the 1980-84 surveys, that is, those with a code of "65 - Deceased" on a 'Reason for Noninterview' variable, have been recoded, beginning in 1985, to "68 - Military Sample Dropped"; this recode occurred for four cases. Thus, the count of 1,079 reflects all members of the military subsample, both living and deceased, who were dropped from interviewing; however, this means that the cumulative count of total deceased respondents on any post-1984 'Reason for Noninterview' will be understated.

The 22 members of the supplemental economically disadvantaged, nonblack/non-Hispanic sample who had died prior to the dropping of the sample in 1991 were not similarly reclassified as dropped. The count of 1,621 for the economically disadvantaged, nonblack/non-Hispanic sample in the 1991 'Reason for Noninterview' variable reflects only the living members of the total 1,643 who were dropped; the 22 deceased members of the supplemental economically disadvantaged, nonblack/non-Hispanic subsample remain coded as deceased.

Table 3 presents the number of respondents not interviewed across survey years by sample type.

Table 3. Reasons for Noninterview by Sample Type: NLSY79 1980-2016

Key - C: Cross-sectional, S: Supplemental, M: Military

Survey
Year
Total Not
Interviewed
Reason for Noninterview
Refusal Can't Locate Deceased Other Difficult Cases Dropped1
    C S M C S M C S M C S M C S M C S M C S M
1980 238 220 87 153 91 9 60 101 56 4 5 0 21 23 22 0 0 0 0 0 0
1981 219 187 85 133 71 16 30 64 20 15 14 0 41 38 49 0 0 0 0 0 0
1982 235 259 69 86 73 18 56 123 30 24 19 1 7 25 18 62 19 2 0 0 0
1983 209 202 54 103 94 23 43 63 18 27 26 4 15 14 8 21 5 1 0 0 0
1984 297 255 65 204 138 32 54 73 24 30 33 4 9 11 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
1985 360 338 1094 180 146 5 51 94 7 36 43 0 10 14 2 83 41 1 0 0 1079
1986 478 456 1097 284 230 10 78 115 7 43 51 1 14 22 0 59 38 0 0 0 1079
1987 573 527 1101 286 217 5 118 165 10 51 56 3 28 39 1 90 50 3 0 0 1079
1988 598 518 1105 335 248 4 107 128 13 56 68 3 43 36 4 57 38 2 0 0 1079
1989 540 442 1099 316 202 7 90 93 5 60 78 3 19 25 2 55 44 3 0 0 1079
1990 613 540 1097 385 269 8 101 139 6 67 82 3 23 28 1 37 22 0 0 0 1079
1991 555 1992 1099 316 182 9 97 99 6 75 65 4 8 13 1 59 12 0 0 1621 1079
1992 558 1993 1097 323 196 7 82 70 6 81 71 4 11 16 1 61 19 0 0 1621 1079
1993 574 1980 1099 338 191 11 57 62 3 90 83 4 12 10 1 77 13 1 0 1621 1079
1994 654 2017 1102 398 196 9 78 59 9 104 96 4 11 14 0 63 31 1 0 1621 1079
1996 820 2102 1105 486 216 6 86 87 11 128 109 5 22 23 1 98 46 3 0 1621 1079
1998 952 2208 1105 490 233 8 117 146 9 152 118 5 74 59 1 119 31 3 0 1621 1079
2000 1162 2352 1117 689 333 15 162 180 11 170 136 7 58 61 4 83 21 1 0 1621 1079
2002 1336 2503 1123 684 394 14 201 195 14 188 151 7 65 66 4 198 54 51 0 1621 1079
2004 1425 2477 1123 790 328 16 240 197 15 221 171 7 119 80 3 55 58 3 0 1621 1079
2006 1482 2433 1118 969 403 20 165 138 10 252 197 7 38 19 0 58 33 2 0 1643 1079
2008 1423 2387 1119 814 311 14 177 149 10 274 222 7 103 31 7 55 31 2 0 1643 1079
2010 1509 2487 1125  795 334 22 194 162 14 309 255 9 98 42 1  113 51  0 0  1643 1079 
2012 1689  2564 1133 649 238 16 255 198 13 384 292 13 317 152 12 84 41 0 0  1643  1079 
2014 1848 2635 1133 775 328 18 346 213 16 444 331 15 111 54 3 172 66 2 0 1643 1079
2016 1919 2714 1141 722 318 20 482 295 23 512 385 18 31 19 0 172 54 1 0 1643 1079
 
Two groups of NLSY79 respondents have been dropped from interviewing: (1) 1,079 members of the 1,280 military subsample were dropped after the 1984 survey and (2) the 1,643 members of the supplemental economically disadvantaged, non-black/non-Hispanic subsample were dropped after the 1990 interview.