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National Longitudinal Surveys

NLSY26: Context and Objectives


BLS is currently developing plans for a new youth cohort called the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 2026 (NLSY26). The development of the NLSY26 will build upon BLS experience and analysis of its two ongoing NLS cohorts:

  • NLSY79: a sample composed of 12,686 men and women who were born in the years 1957-64. Data were first collected in 1979 when sample members were ages 14-22. BLS has followed this cohort of late Baby Boomers for over 40 years, recording their lives from their teens into their 50s and early 60s.

  • NLSY97: a sample composed of 8,984 men and women who were born in the years 1980-84. Data were first collected in 1997 when sample members were ages 12-17. BLS has followed this cohort for over 20 years, and sample members are now in their mid-30s and early 40s.

To learn more about topics in the NLSY79 and NLSY97:

Visit the NLS Bibliography to search the thousands of research articles, book chapters, and Ph.D. dissertations that used NLS data.



A lot has changed since the NLSY79 and NLSY97 were first surveyed. These changes encompass many domains such as the nature of jobs, the work environment, and job search, the rise in on-line schooling and the schooling environment, the proliferation of social media, and much more.     

As in previous NLS cohorts, BLS plans to ask NLSY26 cohort members a core set of questions that provide extensive information on employment, training, education, income, assets, marital status, fertility, health, and occupational and geographical mobility, as well as administering cognitive and non-cognitive assessments. Additional areas of inquiry and assessment are currently being considered as the NLS program consults with its stakeholders and subject matter experts in a range of fields.

BLS is also considering alternative (non-survey) data sources that may potentially be incorporated into the new NLSY26 cohort to improve accuracy, increase granularity, provide information on new topics, and/or reduce respondent burden. In addition, BLS is considering how innovations in interview techniques can enhance respondent experience and data collection.

March 25, 2022