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National Longitudinal Surveys

Information for NLS Virtual Data Enclave (VDE) users


The BLS VDE product is managed jointly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago and is a private network within the NORC Data Enclave®.

BLS and NORC have different roles in providing authorized users access to the VDE:


  • Reviews and approves new applications

  • Reviews and approves modifications to the original Letter of Agreement (LOA)

    • Addition and removal of agents

    • Updates to security locations

    • Approval of extension requests

    • Approval of additional (not listed on the NLS geocode application) public use datasets for import into the VDE

  • Performs non-disclosure review of files for export from the VDE

  • Answers questions about NLS datasets

  • Contact Us:


  • Sets up project spaces and user accounts within the VDE

  • Receives from researcher BLS approved public use datasets for import into the VDE

    • Imports datasets into researcher’s project space

    Sends researcher output to BLS for non-disclosure review before export from the VDE

  • Resolves password and other types of technical issues

  • Contact Us:


Imports to the VDE

Your project space is empty until NLS geocode datasets, code, NLS public use and any other public use datasets are imported.

There are two types of imports:

NLS geocode datasets:

  1. NLSY79 cohort
  2. NLSY79YA cohort
  3. NLSY97 cohort

NORC automatically adds BLS approved NLS geocode cohorts to your project space

Everything else:

  1. Code
  2. NLS public use datasets (see note)
  3. All other BLS approved public use datasets

Note: You will always be importing NLS public use variables from NLS Investigator.  The NLS geocode dataset is incomplete without NLS public use variables.  To learn how to use NLS Investigator see tutorials: NLS Investigator Tutorial : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

You send NORC your code, NLS public use datasets, and any other BLS approved public use datasets for import into the VDE.  NORC then adds these to your project space.


Exports from the VDE

BLS staff must review and approve outputs before they can be exported from the VDE and released to you.

The VDE Non-Disclosure Review Guide - NLSY Geocode Data describes the non-disclosure review process and policies.  The guide can also be found in the Disclosure Review Guide and Checklist folder of the data folder inside the VDE.  Note that this folder also contains the VDE Non-Disclosure Review Checklist.  You will need to fill out and submit this checklist as part of the export review request process.



If you are new to research using the NLS, a wealth of information can be found on the NLS Info Website:

Main page: National Longitudinal Surveys | A Program of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( 

NLSY79: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth | 1979 | National Longitudinal Surveys (

NLSY79YA: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Child and Young Adult | National Longitudinal Surveys (

NLSY97: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth | 1997 | National Longitudinal Surveys (



Last Modified Date: November 17, 2022