National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth

As a participant in the NLSY97, you are a crucial part of one of the most interesting and informative surveys in the U.S!

The NLSY97 is about telling your story as part of the larger picture of the American experience. The NLSY97 is a vital source of information for policy makers and researchers who want to know more about the experiences and concerns of people in your generation. The survey includes people who were born in the years 1980 to 1984 and living in the U.S. when the survey began in 1997.

Why The NLS Counts

“The National Longitudinal Surveys stand out because they are designed to answer key long-term questions about people’s paths through life.

The survey doesn’t just ask about labor market activity. It also asks about education, training, health, marriages and other relationships, children, use of government programs, juvenile crimes and arrests, drug and alcohol use, and much more. Why do we ask about these topics, some of which are pretty sensitive? In short, we’re trying to understand all the things that affect or are affected by labor market activity. That covers nearly every part of our lives.

This is all possible thanks to the people who have agreed to participate in the surveys across many years—so that we can understand people’s paths over time!”

Erica L. Groshen, Commissioner
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Research Highlights

Labor Market Success

Nobel Prize winner James Heckman and colleagues found that skills such as motivation and perseverance are as important to future labor market success as reading and math.


Those who transfer from a two-year college to a four-year college have similar job outcomes as those who start at a four-year college.

Birth Weight

Low birth weight is a better predictor than cognitive test scores of whether people either work or attend school at ages 24-27. Birth weight is also a better predictor of adult wages.

NLSY in the News

Frequently Asked Questions

Need More Information?

View more information about this project or contact us at:
Phone: 800-789-1346

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