NLSY79 USER'S GUIDE

A Guide to the 1979-2004

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Data


Prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor by

Center for Human Resource Research
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
August 2006

This publication is prepared under contract #J-9-J-3-0004 with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

 



Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Sample Design & Fielding Procedures

Chapter 3: Guide to the Data

Chapter 4: Topical Index to the NLSY79

4.1 Age
4.2 Alcohol Use
4.3 Aptitude, Achievement & Intelligence Scores
4.4 Assets
4.5 Attitudes & Expectations
4.6 Child Care
4.7 Cigarette Use
4.8 Class of Worker
4.9 Clustering Adjustments
4.10 Crime, Delinquency & Arrest Records
4.11 Discrimination
4.12 Drug Use
4.13 Educational Attainment & School Enrollment
4.14 Family Background
4.15 Fertility
4.16 Fringe Benefits
4.17 Gender
4.18 Geographic Residence & Environmental Characteristics
4.19 Government Training & Jobs Programs
4.20 Health
4.21 Household Composition
4.22 Income
4.23 Industries
4.24 Job Characteristics
4.25 Job Satisfaction
4.26 Job Search
4.27 Jobs & Employers
4.28 Labor Force Status
4.29 Marital Status, Marital Transitions & Attitudes
4.30 Military
4.31 Occupations
4.32 Pension Benefits & Pension Plans
4.33 Poverty Status & Public Assistance Support Sources
4.34 Race, Ethnicity & Nationality
4.35 School & Transcript Surveys
4.36 School Discipline
4.37 Sexual Activity & Contraception
4.38 Time & Tenure with Employers
4.39 Training
4.40 Wages
4.41 Work Experience
4.42 Work History Data

Chapter 5: Item Nonresponse

Appendix A: Quick Reference Guide

Appendix B: Selected Variables for the NLSY79

Appendix C: Standard Errors and Design Effects

Appendix D: NLSY79 Areas of Interest

Appendix E: NLSY79 Glossary of Terms

Return to top


List of Tables and Figures

Table 1.2.1

The NLS: Survey Groups, Sample Sizes, Interview Years & Status

Table 1.3.1

NLSY79 Sample Size by Subsample, Race & Gender for Selected Years

Table 1.4.1

Number of NLSY79 Civilian Respondents by Type of Household: 1979

Table 1.5.1

NLSY79 Mother & Child Samples: 1979-2004 Surveys

Table 1.5.2

NLSY79 Child Sample Sizes by Age & Race/Ethnicity: 1986-2004

Table 1.7.1

NLSY79: Current Data Releases

Figure 2.3.1

Number of Respondents Born Each Month by Birth Year

Table 2.3.1

Base Year Interview Completion: NLSY79

Table 2.3.2

NLSY79 Military Respondents Interviewed in 1979 by Gender, Race & Military Branch

Table 2.4.1

NLSY79 Main Youth Fielding Periods

Table 2.5.1

Percent of NLSY79 Interviews Conducted by Telephone, 1979-2004

Table 2.5.2

Sample Sizes & Retention Rates by Sample Type: NLSY79

Table 2.5.3

Response Rates (Excluding Deceased Respondents) by Sample Type: NLSY79

Table 2.6.1

Reasons for Noninterview: NLSY79 1979-2004

Table 2.6.2

Reasons for Noninterview by Gender: NLSY79 1980-2004

Table 2.6.3

Reasons for Noninterview by Race/Ethnicity: NLSY79 1980-2004

Table 2.6.4

Reasons for Noninterview by Sample Type: NLSY79 1980-2004

Table 2.7.1

Percentage of NLSY79 Respondents, Excluding Dropped Respondents, Who Answered Every Survey: 1979-2004

Table 2.7.2

Cohort Characteristics by Race: 1979-2004

Table 2.7.3

Number of Interviews Respondents Completed out of 21 Surveys by Sex: NLSY79 1979-2004

Table 2.7.4

Number of Interviews Respondents Completed out of 21 Surveys by Race: NLSY79 1979-2004

Table 2.7.5

Number of Interviews Respondents Completed out of 21 Surveys by Sample Type: NLSY79 1979-2004

Figure 2.11.1 NLSY79 Round 20 Advance Letter
Figure 2.11.2 Confidentiality and Reporting Burden Information in the NLSY79 Advance Letter

Table 3.1.1

Types of NLSY79 Survey Instruments & User Aids

Table 3.1.2

NLSY79 Question Numbering Conventions

Table 3.1.3

Employer Supplement Question Numbering Conventions: 1980-2004

Table 3.3.1

NLSY79 1988 & 1993 Reference Number Assignment

Figure 3.3.1

NLSY79 Sample PAPI Codeblock

Figure 3.3.2

NLSY79 Sample CAPI Codeblock

Table 4.1.1

Age & Date of Birth Variables for Respondents: NLSY79 (1979-2002)

Table 4.1.2

Age Distribution of Respondents on Day of Interview (Unweighted Data)

Table 4.1.3

Age Distribution of Respondents on June 30th of Interview Year (Unweighted Data)

Table 4.2.1

Alcohol Variables by Survey Year: NLSY79

Table 4.3.1

Aptitude & Intelligence Tests: NLSY79 School Survey, Transcript Survey & Profiles Testing

Table 4.4.1

NLSY79 Asset Questions 1979 to 1984

Table 4.4.2

NLSY79 Asset Questions 1985 to 2004

Table 4.4.3

Response Rates to Questions on Wealth: 1992

Table 4.4.4

Number and Percentage of Respondents Whose Assets Were Top Coded in 1985 and 1993

Table 4.5.1

Percent of NLSY79 Respondents Who Either Agree or Strongly Agree with Statement (Unweighted)

Table 4.5.2

NLSY79 Expectations Questions

Table 4.6.1

Child Care Questions: 1982-2004 NLSY79 Surveys Including the Special 1989 Child Care Supplement

Figure 4.8.1

Definitions of CPS Class of Worker Entries

Table 4.9.1 Effect of Clustering Correction on a Mean Value's Standard Error, 1998 Data, Example One
Table 4.9.2 Effect of Clustering Correction on a Mean Value's Standard Error, 1998 Data, Example Two
Figure 4.9.1 SAS Commands To Create Sudaan Data File
Figure 4.9.2 Sudaan Label File
Figure 4.9.3 Sudaan Commands Used To Create Summary Statistics In Table 4.9.1
Figure 4.9.4 Sudaan Commands Used To Create Regression Values In Table 4.9.2

Table 4.10.1

Number of Respondents Reporting Participation within the Past Year in Illegal Activities by Gender & Race/Ethnicity: 1980 NLSY79 (Unweighted)

Table 4.10.2

Number of Respondents Reporting Contact with the Police and/or Criminal Justice System by Gender, Race/Ethniciy & 1979 Family Poverty Status: 1980 NLSY79 (Unweighted)

Table 4.10.3

Number of NLSY79 Respondents in Jail or Prison at Survey Date

Table 4.13.1

Educational Attainment & School Enrollment Variables: 1979-2004

Table 4.13.2

Other Schooling-Related Variables

Table 4.14.1

Computer Code to Create Father's Age in 1979

Table 4.14.2

Religious Affiliation and Upbringing of Respondents (Unweighted Data)

Table 4.15.1

Questions Asked of Respondents in Long Fertility Section during Even Numbered Survey Years

Figure 4.15.1

Age at First Birth for NLSY79 Respondents as of the 2002 Interview

Table 4.15.2

Number of Children Born to NLSY79 Respondents by 2004 vs. Number of Children Desired in 1979

Table 4.15.3

Percentage of Respondents Who Have Never Reported Having a Spouse or Partner

Table 4.16.1

Number of Civilian Workers Reporting the Availability of Various Types of Fringe Benefits at Their Current/Last Job: NLSY79 1979-2004

Table 4.18.1

Select Residence Variables by Survey Year & Area of Interest: NLSY79 Main & Geocode Files

Table 4.18.2

Representative Types of County/SMSA Environmental Characteristic Data: NLSY79 Geocode CD

Table 4.19.1

Federally Funded Agencies Providing Government Jobs: 1979-87

Table 4.20.1

Percentage of Respondents Whose Current or Most Recent Job Provided Health Insurance Benefits

Table 4.21.1

Guide to the Household Interview Forms: NLSY79 1979-2004

Table 4.21.2

Distribution of Respondents Living within Single & Multiple Respondent Households: NLSY79

Table 4.21.3

Number of NLSY79 Civilian Respondent Pairs Interviewed in 1979 & 1992

Table 4.22.1

Short Form NLSY79 Income Questions: 1979-82

Table 4.22.2

Long Form NLSY79 Income Questions: 1979-82

Table 4.22.3

Detailed NLSY79 Income Questions 1983-2004

Table 4.22.4

Response Rates to Questions on Income: NLSY79 1992

Figure 4.23.1

Major Industrial Groups: 1970 Census of Population

Table 4.23.1

Industrial Sector of Civilian Respondents' Most Recent Job by Survey Year: NLSY79 Males 1979-2000

Table 4.23.2

Industrial Sector of Civilian Respondents' Most Recent Job by Survey Year: NLSY79 Females 1979-2000

Table 4.23.3 Industrial Sector of Civilian Respondent's Most Recent Job by Survey Year: NLSY79 Males 2002-2004
Table 4.23.4 Industrial Sector of Civilian Respondent's Most Recent Job by Survey Year: NLSY79 Females 2002-2004

Table 4.24.1

Variables Needed to Construct the Job Characteristics Index: NLSY79

Table 4.25.1

Variables Needed to Construct the Job Satisfaction Index: NLSY79

Table 4.26.1

Number of Employed and Not Employed NLSY79 Job Seekers (Unweighted Data)

Table 4.27.1

Functions of the Various Job-Related Survey Instruments

Table 4.27.2

Instructions to Interviewers for Identifying the CPS Employer for Civilian NLSY79 Respondents: 1996

Table 4.27.3

Computer Code to Create Number of Jobs Ever Reported

Table 4.28.1

Definitions of Key CPS Labor Force Concepts

Table 4.28.2

Instructions to NORC Interviewers for Coding NLSY79 Respondents' Labor Force Status

Table 4.28.3

Definitions of NLSY79 Weekly Labor Force Activity Categories: NLSY79 Work History Data

Table 4.28.4

Created Summary Variables: 1979 to Current Survey

Table 4.28.5

Labor Force Status: NLSY79 Civilian & Military Respondents 1979-98 (Unweighted Data)

Table 4.28.6

Labor Force Status: NLSY79 Civilian & Military Respondents by Gender & Race/Ethnicity 1979-98

Table 4.29.1

Expanded and Collapsed Marital Status: NLSY79 1992

Table 4.30.1

Number of NLSY79 Respondents in the Active Armed Forces and Number Who Enlisted in Any Branch in That Year

Table 4.30.2

Military Pay Variables in the NLSY79 1979 Cohort

Table 4.31.1

Occupational Coding Classification Systems: NLSY79

Table 4.33.1

Sources of Public Assistance Support: 1979-2004 NLSY79

Table 4.33.2

Poverty Status by Type of Residence: 1979 & 1988 NLSY79 (Unweighted Data)

Table 4.34.1

Ethnicity by Racial/Ethnic Cohort from Screener (Unweighted Data)

Table 4.34.2

Current Immigration/Naturalization Status: 1990 NLSY79 Respondents Born Outside the United States

Table 4.35.1

Transcript Data Collection, Rounds I-III: 1980-83 NLSY79

Table 4.37.1

Reported Age at which Respondents First Had Sex by Race and Gender

Table 4.37.2

Knowledge of When Pregnancy Most Likely to Occur

Table 4.38.1

Gaps in Employment: NLSY79 Main Files

Table 4.39.1

Core Data Collection: NLSY79 Training 1979-86 and 1988-2004

Table 4.39.2

Training & Training Providers: Definitions from the NLSY79 Question-by-Question Specifications (1991)

Table 4.39.3

Number of Respondents Participating in Training by Survey Year, Type of Training, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity: NLSY79 1988-94

Table 4.39.4

Types of Training Providers Identified in the "Other Training" & "Training" Sections of the NLSY79 Questionnaire: 1979-2004

Table 4.39.5

Number of Respondents Participating in Training Programs by Survey Year, Type of Program, and Gender: NLSY79 1979-2004

Table 4.39.6

"Other Training" & "Training" Sections of the NLSY79 Surveys: 1979-2004

Table 4.40.1

Core Rate of Pay Variables: NLSY79 Combined Main & Work History Files

Table 4.40.2

Computer Code to Create Hourly Rate of Pay

Table 4.42.1

Average Number of Weeks Working Per Year for Respondents Who Provided Data in All Years from 1979 to 2004

Table 4.42.2

Number of Weeks Respondents Are Working, Not Working, and Unknown from NLSY79 2004 Work History Data

Table 5.2.1

Extent of Refusals, Don't Knows & Invalid Skips in 1979 NLSY79 Survey

Table 5.2.2

Extent of Refusals, Don't Knows & Invalid Skips in 1984 NLSY79 Survey

Table 5.2.3

Extent of Refusals, Don't Knows & Invalid Skips in 1989 NLSY79 Survey

Table 5.2.4

Extent of Refusals, Don't Knows & Invalid Skips in 1994 NLSY79 Survey

Table 5.2.5 Extent of Refusals, Don't Knows & Invalid Skips in 1998 NLSY79 Survey
Table 5.2.6 Extent of Refusals, Don't Knows & Invalid Skips in 2004 NLSY79 Survey

Table 5.3.1

Number of Respondents with Missing Data in 1979 Survey

Table 5.3.2

Number of Respondents with Missing Data in 1984 Survey

Table 5.3.3

Number of Respondents with Missing Data in 1989 Survey

Table 5.3.4

Number of Respondents with Missing Data in 1994 Survey

Table 5.3.5 Number of Respondents with Missing Data in 1998 Survey
Table 5.3.6 Number of Respondents with Missing Data in 2004 Survey

Table 5.4.1

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in the Work Experience Section, 1979 Survey

Table 5.4.2

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Male Fertility Section, 1984 Survey

Table 5.4.3

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Female Fertility Section, 1984 Survey

Table 5.4.4

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Feeding Part of Fertility Section, 1984 Survey

Table 5.4.5

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Child Part of Fertility Section, 1984 Survey

Table 5.4.6

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Abortion Questions of Fertility Section, 1984 Survey

Table 5.4.7

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Income Section, 1989 Survey

Table 5.4.8

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Asset Section, 1989 Survey

Table 5.4.9

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Alcohol Use Section, 1994 Survey

Table 5.4.10

Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Drug Use Section, 1994 Survey

Table 5.4.11 Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Marital History Section, 1998 Survey
Table 5.4.12 Amount of Missing Data Per Question in Health Section, 2004 Survey

Table A.1.1

List of NLS Documentation

Figure A.2.1

General Topics of the NLSY79 Main Data Collection

Figure A.2.2 NLS Web Investigator Search Screen
Figure A.2.3 Using Filters in NLS Web Investigator

Table A.3.1

Frequently Asked Questions

Table B.1.1 Selected NLSY79 Main Youth Variables by Survey Year
Table C.1 Deft Factors for Round 1 (1979)
Table C.2 Deft Factors for Round 17 (1996)
Table C.3 Deft Factors for Round 18 (1998)
Table C.4 Deft Factors for Round 19 (2000)
Table C.5 Deft Factors for Round 20 (2002)
Table C.6 Deft Factors for Round 21 (2004)
Table C.7 Standard Errors for Round 1 (1979)
Table C.8 Standard Errors for Round 17 (1996)
Table C.9 Standard Errors for Round 18 (1998)
Table C.10 Standard Errors for Round 19 (2000)
Table C.11 Standard Errors for Round 20 (2002)
Table C.12 Standard Errors for Round 21 (2004)


Return to top