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National Longitudinal Surveys

Applicants for NLSYGeocode Data 

[Important: NLSYGeocode data is at the State, County, and MSA level.  NLSY data at the Census Tract and Zip Code level is available through a different restricted data sharing program. See link: What Datasets are Available? : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (]

Application Process:

Applicants for the NLSY97, NLSY79, or NLSY79 Young Adult cohorts State, County, and MSA Geocode data must first complete the Standard Application Process (SAP) through the online portal at ResearchDataGov (RDG). RDG is a portal for requesting access to restricted microdata from federal statistical agencies.

Applicants then complete the BLS VDE Confidential Data Access Information Form (sent upon approval of the SAP).

After SAP approval and receipt of the BLS VDE Confidential Data Access Information Form, BLS drafts and signs a Letter of Agreement (LOA) between us and the recipient institution. The recipient institution signs and returns the LOA to BLS. Authorized users are then provided access to the NLSYGeocode data through a virtual data enclave (VDE).  The VDE is a managed environment where researchers can analyze the NLSYGeocode State, County, and MSA data.  Output from such analysis, as well as input files that researchers may wish to import, will be subject to BLS approval before being moved to or from the VDE.  Statistical software available for use in the VDE includes SAS, Stata, R, Rstudio, Stat/Transfer, Python (Spyder, Jupyter Notebook), and SPSS.

All NLSYGeocode agreements are between the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the recipient institution and not between BLS and individual researchers and all NLSYGeocode data access must take place from BLS approved locations on the physical premises of the recipient institution.  Researchers may not work offsite.

Additionally, NLSYGeocode data is accessed only via the BLS VDE. NLSYGeocode data is not available at FSRDC locations nor may it be transferred to recipient institution; i.e. university, systems.

The steps to obtaining NLSYGeocode data access are summarized below:

1.            Complete the Standard Application Process (SAP).

2.            If the SAP is approved, BLS sends and you complete and return the BLS VDE Confidential Data Access Information Form.

3.            BLS drafts and signs the Letter of Agreement (LOA) between us and the recipient institution.

4.            The recipient institution signs and returns the LOA to BLS.

5.            BLS contract staff set up your accounts/project space in the VDE.

NLS staff will contact you as each step in the application process is completed.

See below for more information about the NLSYGeocode application process:

Please review the information below about NLSYGeocode agreements outside the United States.


Last Modified Date: January 16, 2024