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National Longitudinal Surveys

More Detail on Select Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Geocode applications from outside the United States
  2. Geocode application process

Geocode Agreements from Outside the United States

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has adopted a policy not to enter into NLSYGeocode Letters of Agreement with researchers outside the United States. BLS reluctantly adopted this policy because of growing concerns about protecting the confidentiality of survey respondents in an age when advances in computer technology make it easier to re-identify respondents and possibly violate their privacy. [BLS is not aware of any cases in which NLSYGeocode recipients, either in the U.S. or abroad, have used the data intentionally for any improper purposes that would violate respondent confidentiality.]

Within the United States, BLS has legal remedies to prevent willful misuse of geocode data. For researchers outside the United States, BLS has no way to enforce U.S. privacy laws. Unfortunately, this means BLS is unable to grant requests to enter into an NLSYGeocode Letter of Agreement with researchers outside the United States. The NLS public-use file, which excludes the geographic variables, is available for all researchers to use.

More about the Geocode Process

Applicants for NLSY97, NLSY79, and NLSY79 Young Adult cohort NLSYGeocode data must 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 Security Information Form (sent upon approval of the SAP).

If your application is approved, we will send you a Letter of Agreement to be signed by an official authorized to sign the agreement on behalf of the university or institution. (You provide the name and address of this official in the BLS VDE Confidential Data Access Security Information Form). Enclosed with the Letter of Agreement will be copies of the BLS agent agreement to be signed by each researcher, advisor, and anyone else named in your application who will have access to the NLSYGeocode data.  NLSY Geocode Letters of Agreement typically last one year for students and two years for faculty members but may be extended upon request.


Last Modified Date: May 9, 2023