National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Experience, 1966-1992 (ICPSR 7610)

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Ohio State University. Center for Human Resource Research.


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The primary purpose of the five sets of surveys that comprise the National Longitudinal Surveys is the collection of data on the labor force experience of specific age-sex groups of Americans: Older Men aged 45-59 in 1966, Mature Women aged 30-44 in 1967, Young Men aged 14-24 in 1966, Young Women aged 14-24 in 1968, and Youth aged 14-21 in 1979. Each of the 1960s cohorts has been surveyed 12 or more times over the years, and the Youth cohort has been surveyed yearly since 1979. The major topics covered within the surveys of each cohort include: (1) labor market experience variables (including labor force participation, unemployment, job history, and job mobility), (2) socioeconomic and human capital variables (including education, training, health and physical condition, marital and family characteristics, financial characteristics, and job attitudes), and (3) selected environmental variables (size of labor force and unemployment rates for local area). While the surveys of each cohort have collected data on the above core sets of variables, cohort-specific data have been gathered over the years focusing on the particular stage of labor market attachment that each group was experiencing. Thus, the surveys of young people have collected data on their educational goals, high school and college experiences, high school characteristics, and occupational aspirations and expectations, as well as military service. The surveys of women have gathered data on topics such as fertility, child care, responsibility for household tasks, care of parents, volunteer work, attitudes towards women working, and job discrimination. As the older-aged cohorts of men and women approached labor force withdrawal, surveys for these groups collected information on their retirement plans, health status, and pension benefits. Respondents within the 1979 Youth cohort have been the focus of a number of special surveys, including the collection of data on: (1) last secondary school attended, including transcript information and selected aptitude/intelligence scores, (2) test scores from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), (3) illegal activities participation including police contacts, and (4) alcohol use and substance abuse. Finally, the 1986 and 1988 surveys of the Youth cohort included the administration of a battery of cognitive-socioemotional assessments to the approximately 7,000 children of the female 1979 Youth respondents. Data for the five cohorts are provided within main file releases, i.e., Mature Women 1967-1989, Young Women 1968-1991, Young Men 1966-1981, Older Men 1966-1990, and NLSY (Youth) 1979-1992. In addition, the following specially constructed data files are available: (1) a file that specifies the relationships among members of the four original cohorts living in the same household at the time of the initial surveys, i.e., husband-wife, mother-daughter, brother-sister, etc., (2) an NLSY workhistory tape detailing the week-by-week labor force attachment of the youth respondents from 1978 through the most current survey date, (3) an NLSY child-mother file linking the child assessment data to other information on children and mothers within the NLSY, (4) a supplemental NLSY file of constructed and edited fertility variables, (5) a women's support network tape detailing the geographic proximity of the relatives, friends, and acquaintances of 6,308 female NLSY respondents who were interviewed during the 1983-1985 surveys, and (6) two 1989 Mature Women's pension file detailing information on pensions and other employer-provided benefits.

Ohio State University. Center for Human Resource Research. National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Experience, 1966-1992. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-05-21.

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Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1966 -- 1992
1966 -- 1992
  1. (1) Due to the consolidation of files and removal of obsolete errata files, there are no Parts 45, 66, 114, 115, or 117 in this collection. These data occupy over 30 reels of tape when written at 6,250 bpi, and over 120 reels when written at 1,600 bpi. Due to the magnitude of this collection, interested users should initially request the introductory report that describes the file structure and content prior to submitting their orders. Codebooks are electronic although some supplementary materials are available only on microfiche. Numeric and KWIC indexes and various attachments are supplied as electronic files. Users will need to order Numeric and KWIC indexes along with data files to determine column locations for variables. (2) A change has been made to the structure of the 1979-1992 Youth Workhistory data file. The size of the file necessitated splitting the data into two records per case. The first record contains the data for the A, HOURS and DUALJOBS arrays and the second record contains the remainder of the data pertaining to specific job characteristics, gaps in employment, and summary labor force activity variables.


Each of the first four cohorts is represented by a national probability sample of approximately 5,000 individuals--1,500 Blacks and 3,500 Whites. These four "original cohorts" have been interviewed at least once in every two-year period since the 1960s. Retention rates have remained high, with around two-thirds of the active samples continuing to be interviewed. Three independent probability samples, designed to be representative of the entire population of youth born in the United States between 1957 and 1964, were drawn for the NLSY: (1) a cross-sectional sample of 6,111 respondents designed to be representative of the noninstitutionalized civilian segment of American young people aged 14-21 as of January 1, 1979, (2) a supplemental sample of 5,295 respondents designed to oversample civilian Hispanic, Black, and economically disadvantaged non-Hispanic, non-Black youth, and (3) a military sample of 1,280 respondents designed to represent the population aged 17-21 as of January 1, 1979, and serving in the military as of September 30, 1978. The retention rate for the NLSY, interviewed yearly since 1979, remains at over 90 percent. The military sample was interviewed from 1979-1984.

Five cohorts are represented in this collection: Older Men aged 45 to 59 years of age in 1966, Mature Women aged 30 to 44 years in 1967, Young Men aged 14 to 24 years in 1966, Young Women aged 14 to 24 years in 1968, and NLSY (Youth--both males and females) aged 14 to 21 years in 1979.

personal interviews and self-enumerated forms



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Ohio State University. Center for Human Resource Research. National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Experience, 1966-1992. ICPSR07610-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1995.