National Longitudinal Surveys

The NLS, sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are nationally representative surveys that follow the same sample of individuals from specific birth cohorts over time. The surveys collect data on labor market activity, schooling, fertility, program participation, health, and much, much more. The NLS family of surveys includes the following cohorts:

  • NLS Youth 1997 (NLSY97) - Men and women born in the years 1980-84. This survey was conducted annually from 1997-2011 and is ongoing on a biennial basis.
  • NLS Youth 1979 (NLSY79) - Men and women born in the years 1957-64. This survey was conducted annually from 1979-1994 and continues on a biennial basis.
  • NLSY79 Child and Young Adult - Biological children of women in the NLSY79. This survey, which includes assessments of children age 14 and younger, has been conducted every other year since 1986.
  • NLS Mature and Young Women - Mature women born in the years 1922-37 and young women born in the years 1943-53. These women were interviewed annually or biennially from 1967/1968 through 2003.
  • NLS Older and Young Men - Older men born in the years 1906-21 and young men born in the years 1941-52. These surveys began in 1966. Older men were interviewed annually or biennially through 1983, with a reinterview in 1990; young men were interviewed annually or biennially through 1981.

NLS public-use data for each cohort are available at no cost via the Investigator, an online search and extraction site that enables you to review NLS variables and create your own data sets. More information about the NLS surveys is available on the NLS program website.

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