Investigator(s): Bumpass, Larry L., and James A. Sweet
The National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) series was designed and carried out at the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Larry Bumpass and James Sweet with the aim of providing improved understanding of both the structure and functioning of American families in order to overcome the limitations of previously available data on family structure, family process, and family relationships. The fieldwork was done by the Institute for Survey Research at Temple University, and William Aquilino of the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, provided technical support and assisted in the development of the questionnaires, management of the field operations, and coordination of the data preparation. The series was developed with funds by a grant from the Center for Population Research of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The series is a national longitudinal survey that permits research on a wide variety of aspects of American family life and experience as both determinants and consequences of other family and life course events. A considerable amount of life-history information was collected, including childhood living arrangements, family composition, and relationships, as well as education, fertility, and employment histories. Individuals, rather than families or households, form the units of observation. The design is cross-sectional, with several retrospective sequences, permitting the detailed description of past and current living arrangements and other characteristics and experiences, as well as the analysis of the consequences of earlier patterns on current states, marital and parenting relationships, kin contact, and economic and psychological well-being. Users of the NSFH data should check for periodic updates of the collection by consulting files maintained by the principal investigators at the University of Wisconsin. These files may be accessed via anonymous FTP at: elaine.ssc.wisc.edu (cd /pub/nsfh).