Letter from the Director

Dear NLSY79 Respondents,

Welcome to the 2018-19 round of the NLSY79 survey!

In 2019, it will be forty years since you received your first interview!  Over the years, you have told us about your work experiences, education, training, marriages, children, health, retirement expectations, and much more.  We are so appreciative of your participation in the NLSY79.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) studies all aspects of the labor force from employment and unemployment, to prices and living conditions, to compensation and working conditions.  Most of these survey programs ask respondents about wages today, prices today, or job benefits today.  The value of the NLSY79 is that we can see not only where you are today, but how you got there.


Over the years the study has focused on your transition from school to work, into adulthood, and into midlife, as you formed families, changed jobs, and put down roots.  You provided important information about your schooling, training, work life, family, finances, health, and so much more.  Now, as you reach your late fifties and early sixties, the study begins to look ahead to future life milestones and asks questions about retirement plans, pensions, health, and more.  The information you provide now is as important as it has ever been!  And I again 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.


We want you to know that as the years have been counted and milestones added, more and more research has been done using the NLSY79.  In fact, there are now almost 6,000 publications and citations using information from the NLSY79.  These studies are on topics such as employment, career changes, earnings, schooling, training, health, and much more.  Once research is complete, news organizations see the research and put that information out for the general public.  The awareness of issues facing your generation then becomes a catalyst for policy changes.


Finally, let me take a moment to express my sincere thanks for your past participation in the NLSY79.  Your willingness to offer your interview time is what keeps this important study going.

It is my hope that once again you will grant us the privilege of speaking with you and sharing your unique story.


Keenan Dworak-Fisher

Director, National Longitudinal Surveys
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics