Retention and Reasons for Non-Interview

National Longitudinal Survey of Older and Young Men

Retention and Reasons for Non-Interview

Sample Representativeness & Attrition

The retention rate for the Older Men as of the 1983 survey was 52.5 percent, or 2,633 of the original 5,020 respondents. In 1990, 41.5 percent or 2,092 of the original respondents completed an interview, along with 1,341 widows and 865 other next-of-kin; some information was obtained about 85.6 percent of the cohort members. The retention rate for the Young Men as of the final 1981 survey was 64.9 percent, or 3,398 of the original 5,225 respondents. Retention rate is defined as the percent of base year respondents who were interviewed in any given survey year; included in the calculations are deceased and other out-of-scope respondents (see Table 1 for definitions).

An analysis of selected characteristics of respondents interviewed in the tenth year samples of the Original Cohorts found that noninterviews had not seriously distorted the sample representativeness of any of the cohorts for the characteristics studied (Rhoton 1984). A second analysis of differential attrition among wealthy and non-wealthy subsamples of each of the four Original Cohorts found that non-wealthy respondents of each cohort showed a consistent tendency toward greater attrition (Rhoton and Nagi 1991). Among the three younger cohorts, almost all of the difference between wealthy and non-wealthy subsamples is accounted for by attrition reasons other than the death of the respondent. 

In Table 6, the racial composition of interviewed respondents is presented for the base survey year (1966) and the most recent interview year for which data are available. This table also provides information on numbers of deceased respondents by race.

Table 6. Cohort Characteristics by Race

Race1 # of Int'd. Respondents Racial Composition Retention Number of Deaths2
Older Men
  1966 1990 1966 1990 1990 as % of 1966 As of 1990
Non-black 3600 1603 71.7 % 76.6 % 44.5 % 1807
Black 1420 489 28.3 % 23.4 % 34.4 % 886
Young Men
  1966 1981 1966 1981 1981 as % of 1966 As of 1981
Non-black 3787 2622 72.5 % 77.2 % 69.2 % 77
Black 1438 776 27.5 % 22.8 % 54.0 % 62
 
1 See section in this guide on "Race, Ethnicity & Nationality" for details on race classifications. Respondent totals in this table are based on R00023. for the Older Men and R00023. for the Young Men.
2 Numbers are derived from R07075. for the Older Men and R06835. for the Young Men.

Finally, Tables 7 and 8 present the number of interviews completed by respondents, broken down by race. In these tables, the "number who completed" column shows how many respondents completed exactly that number of surveys. The "cumulative %" column shows a cumulative total percent of those completing at least a given number of surveys rather than a percentage of those completing an exact number of surveys.

Table 7. Number of Interviews Completed out of 13 Survey Years by Race: Older Men 1966-90

  All Respondents Non-Black Respondents Black Respondents
Number of Surveys1 Number who
completed
Cumulative % Number who
completed
Cumulative % Number who
completed
Cumulative %
13 1601 31.9 1223 34.0 378 26.6
12 944 50.7 657 52.2 287 46.8
11 316 57.0 223 58.4 93 53.4
10 174 60.5 115 61.6 59 57.5
9 240 65.2 163 66.1 77 63.0
8 280 70.8 200 71.7 80 68.6
7 201 74.8 151 75.9 50 72.1
6 233 79.5 164 80.4 69 77.0
5 230 84.0 151 84.6 79 82.5
4 267 89.4 169 89.3 98 89.4
3 216 93.7 155 93.6 61 93.7
2 169 97.0 118 96.9 51 97.3
1 149 100.0 111 100.0 38 100.0
Total 5020   3600   1420  
 
Note: This table is based on R00635.01, R01120.01, R01156.01, R01629.01, R02541.01, R02689.01, R02857.01, R03739.10, R04076.10, R04488.10, R05496.10, and R06015.90. The number of respondents completing 13 interviews does not represent the total for whom data are available. The 1990 resurvey collected information about deceased respondents from widows or other next-of-kin.
1 Surveys completed in any year, not necessarily consecutive survey years.

Table 8. Number of Interviews Completed out of 12 Survey Years by Race: Young Men 1966-81

  All Respondents Non-Black Respondents Black Respondents
Number of Surveys1 Number who
completed
Cumulative % Number who
completed
Cumulative % Number who
completed
Cumulative %
12 2084 39.9 1692 44.7 392 27.3
11 611 51.6 440 56.3 171 39.2
10 486 60.9 355 65.7 131 48.3
9 354 67.7 249 72.2 105 55.6
8 364 74.6 268 79.3 96 62.2
7 254 79.5 167 83.7 87 68.3
6 224 83.8 127 87.1 97 75.0
5 194 87.5 96 89.6 98 81.8
4 143 90.2 75 91.6 68 86.6
3 177 93.6 98 94.2 79 92.1
2 190 97.2 126 97.5 64 96.5
1 144 100.0 94 100.0 50 100.0
Total 5225   3787   1438  
 
Note: This table is based on R00645., R01169.10, R01751.10, R02343., R03059.10, R03925.10, R04130.10, R04390., R05468.10, R05967.10, and R06835.10.
1 Surveys completed in any year, not necessarily consecutive survey years.