Letter from the Director

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Welcome to the 2016-17 round of the NLSY79 survey! Although you have been participating in the NLSY79 for 35+ years, this is the first time that I am greeting you. You see, last year I became the new director of the NLS program and while I had been part of the research staff at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for over a decade, my current position has been my first opportunity to be a part of the important work of the NLS program.

I look forward to working with you to ensure that the NLSY79 continues to be successful at documenting the lives of Americans as they grow and change over time. As you know, the great benefit of longitudinal studies, like the NLS, is their ability to trace the sequence of events in peoples’ lives over time, so we can better understand the impact that early experiences have on outcomes later in life and so that we can see how the same life events affect individuals in different ways.

I invite you to visit our News/Research page to see for yourself all the different topic areas NLSY79 researchers have considered. You may already know of some of this research because news organizations are quick to put information out to the general public, which then gets people talking. These conversations have been, and will likely always continue to be, a catalyst for policy changes.

And what’s down the road for NLSY79 research, you may ask? In addition to subjects like employment, family, health, and education that we’ve already learned so much about from you and your peers - the topic of how people in your age group plan for and manage their retirement is now an increasingly important subject. Given this importance, we are focusing on retirement, health, and aging issues when considering new survey content for future rounds of the NLSY79.

Albert Einstein once said: “The only source of knowledge is experience.” When I think of these words, what I’ve learned from my own life experiences, and the knowledge I’ve gathered over time, I’m reminded of how much your contributions have added to that knowledge – I’m grateful for the experiences you’ve all shared and thankful for the fuller knowledge they’ve provided.

So as I reflect on all that we’ve discovered after 26 successful rounds of the NLSY79, I am reminded that without you, there is no survey. Without you, there is no success. I thank you for your support of and dedication to the NLSY79. It is my hope that once again you will grant us the privilege of speaking with you and sharing your unique story.


Jeffrey Groen, Director National Longitudinal Surveys

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics