NLSY79 Child and Young Adults

The NLSY79 Child and Youth Adult is a complex longitudinal survey comprised of multiple nationally representative samples. Because of this complexity the NLS staff creates a set of cross-sectional weights for each survey round. Using these weights provides a simple method for users to correct the raw data for the complex survey design in a particular year. If you are using data from just one survey the weight series provides an accurate adjustment. However, if you are using data from multiple survey years, no single set of survey weights provides an accurate adjustment. For additional information, click here.

If your research spans multiple survey years, using this web page you can create a custom set of survey weights which adjust both for the complex survey design and for using data from multiple years.


Beginning in 2010, young adults over age 30 are only fielded every four years. The fielded sample is selected by age as of December 31 of the survey year, so that approximately half of the older young adults are eligible each round. Since 2010, young adults age 31-32, 35-36, 39-40, 43-44, etc., as of December 31 of the target year have not been fielded.

When the "Weight Years" option is used and "The respondents are in any or all of the selected years" is selected, the custom weights program uses the highest survey year selected to determine sample eligibility. This method most closely matches the approach taken to generate the sampling weights generated for each individual survey round (CSAMWTyyyy and YAyyWEIGHT).

If users use the "Weight Years" option to generate custom weights for respondents in any or all selected years and the highest survey round is 2010 or later, respondents not fielded in the highest year selected will be assigned a weight of 0, regardless of whether they participated in earlier rounds selected.

Users who want to get custom weights for older YAs regardless of the last year fielded when the highest survey round is 2010 or later are advised to use the “Weight IDs” option. Users can generate list of cases that they wish to weight, then copy these IDs into the “Weight IDs” dialog box on the custom weights page.

Place IDs you wish to weight in the text area below. One ID per line.

A download dialog box should appear within 1 minute to copy the file to your PC.

Example Custom Weights Output

Custom Weights have 2 implied decimal places.
(i.e., 130793 means the respondent represents 1,307.93 people)

ID  Custom Weight
1               0
2          130793
3          200122
.               .
n          143589