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June 6 -- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) invites comments by May 2, 2022 on the draft National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) Round 30.
The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) is a representative national sample of persons who were born in the years 1957 to 1964 and lived in the U.S. in 1978. These respondents were ages 14 to 22 when the first round of interviews began in 1979; they were ages 57 to 64 as of December 31, 2021. The NLSY79 was conducted annually from 1979 to 1994 and has been conducted biennially since 1994. The longitudinal focus of this survey requires information to be collected from the same individuals over many years in order to trace their education, training, work experience, fertility, income, and program participation.

In addition to the main NLSY79, the biological children of female NLSY79 respondents have been surveyed since 1986. A battery of child cognitive, socio-emotional, and physiological assessments was administered biennially from 1986 until 2012 to NLSY79 mothers and their children. Starting in 1994, children who had reached age 15 by December 31 of the survey year (the Young Adults) were interviewed about their work experiences, training, schooling, health, fertility, self-esteem, and other topics. Funding for the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult surveys has been provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development through an interagency agreement with the BLS and through a grant awarded to researchers at the Ohio State University Center for Human Resource Research. The collection referenced in this notice does not include a collection of the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult surveys, but additional collections may be contemplated in the future.

One of the goals of the Department of Labor is to produce and disseminate timely, accurate, and relevant information about the U.S. labor force. The BLS contributes to this goal by gathering information about the labor force and labor market and disseminating it to policymakers and the public so that participants in those markets can make more informed, and thus more efficient, choices. Research based on the NLSY79 contributes to the formation of national policy in the areas of education, training, employment programs, school-to-work transitions, and preparations for retirement. In addition to the reports that the BLS produces based on data from the NLSY79, members of the academic community publish articles and reports based on NLSY79 data for the DOL and other funding agencies. To date, more than 2,750 articles examining NLSY79 data have been published in scholarly journals. The survey design provides data gathered from the same respondents over time to form the only data set that contains this type of information for this important population group. Without the collection of these data, an accurate longitudinal data set could not be provided to researchers and policymakers, thus adversely affecting the DOL's ability to perform its policy- and report-making activities.     

The BLS seeks approval to conduct Round 30 of the NLSY79. Respondents of the NLSY79 will undergo an interview of approximately 69 minutes during which they will answer questions about schooling and training, employment and labor market experiences, family relationships, wealth, and expectations about the future. The sample includes 9,964 persons who were 57 to 64 years old on December 31, 2021.  Approximately 12 percent of the sample members are deceased. The NLSY79 Young Adult Survey will not be administered as part of Round 30; future collections of this survey are possible but not slated for current implementation.

During the field period, about 100 NLSY79 interviews will be validated to ascertain whether the interview took place as the interviewer reported and whether the interview was done in a polite and professional manner.

BLS has undertaken a continuing redesign effort to examine the current content of the NLSY79 and provide direction for changes that may be appropriate as the respondents age. The 2022 instrument reflects a number of changes recommended by experts in various fields of social science and by our own internal review of the survey's content. Additions to the questionnaire are accompanied by deletions of previous questions so that the overall time required to complete the survey is estimated to be lower than in 2016, 2018, and 2020.

The Round 30 questionnaire includes new questions on health and nutrition, including consumption of fruit and vegetables, incidence of and vaccination against COVID-19, social and emotional loneliness, and the availability of funds to cover emergency expenses. It also includes questions about perceived discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, and medical care. Several questions that have appeared in previous rounds of the NLSY79 but not in Round 29 will be cycled back in; these include questions about tasks performed on the job, the importance of religion to the respondent, and wills that the respondent may maintain.

The NLS program has a Technical Review Committee that advises BLS and its contractors on questionnaire content and long-term objectives.  The committee typically meets twice a year. 

National Longitudinal Surveys Technical Review Committee (December 2021)

Fenaba Addo Department of Public Policy and Department of Sociology University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  
Jennie Brand Department of Sociology and Department of Statistics University of California, Los Angeles
Sarah Burgard Department of Sociology and Department of Epidemiology University of Michigan
Lisa Kahn Department of Economics University of Rochester
Michael Lovenheim Department of Policy Analysis and Management Cornell University
Nicole Maestas Harvard Medical School
Melissa McInerney (chair) Department of Economics Tufts University
Kristen Olson Department of Sociology University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Emily Owens Department of Criminology, Law & Society and Department of Economics University of California, Irvine  
John Phillips Division of Behavioral and Social Research National Institute on Aging/NIH
Rebecca Ryan  Department of Psychology Georgetown University  
Narayan Sastry  Population Studies Center University of Michigan  
Jeffrey Smith Department of Economics University of Wisconsin
Owen Thompson Department of Economics Williams College

NLSY79 webpage https://www.bls.gov/nls/nlsy79.htm
NLSY79 submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202202-1220-003 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-12038

For AEA members wishing to submit comments to OMB, the AEA Committee on Economic Statistics offers "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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