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Economic News Release
NLS NLS Program Links

America's Youth at 21: School Enrollment, Training, and Employment Transitions between Ages 20 and 21 Technical Note

                                   - 4 -

Technical Note

   The estimates in this release were obtained using data from the first
10 rounds of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97).
The NLSY97 collects extensive information on labor market behavior and
educational experiences.  Information about respondents' families and
communities also is obtained in the survey.
   This survey is conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at
the University of Chicago and the Center for Human Resource Research at
The Ohio State University, under the direction and sponsorship of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.  Partial
funding support for the survey has been provided by the Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of
Justice, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education of the U.S
Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory-impaired
individuals upon request.  Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200; TDD message
referral phone: 1-800-877-8339.


   The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 is a nationally
representative sample of 8,984 young men and women who were ages 12 to
16 on December 31, 1996.  This sample is composed of the following

   --A cross-sectional sample designed to represent the nonin-
     stitutionalized, civilian segment of young people living
     in the U.S. in 1997 and born between January 1, 1980, and
     December 31, 1984.

   --Supplemental samples of Hispanic or Latino and black youths
     living in the U.S. in 1997 and born between January 1, 1980,
     and December 31, 1984.
   The tenth round of annual interviews took place between October 2006
and June 2007.  This release examines the period from the October when
respondents were age 20 until the following October when respondents
were age 21.  All results except the first three age categories of table
1 are weighted using the survey weights from the round in which the
respondents were age 21.  The estimates of school enrollment status at
ages 18, 19, and 20 use the survey weights from the round in which the
respondents were those ages.  The survey weights correct for oversampling
of some demographic groups and nonresponse.  When weighted, the data re-
present all people who were born in the years 1980 to 1984 and living in
the U.S. in 1997.  Not represented by the survey are U.S. immigrants who
were born from 1980 to 1984 and moved to the U.S. after 1997.  NLSY97 sam-
ple members remain eligible to be interviewed during military service or
if they become incarcerated or institutionalized.

                                   - 5 -

Interaction between time and age in a longitudinal survey

   Because the NLSY97 is a longitudinal survey, meaning the same people
are surveyed over time, the ages of the respondents change with each
survey round.  It is important to keep in mind this inherent link
between the calendar years and the ages of the respondents.  The
youngest respondents in the sample (birth year 1984) turned 20 during
calendar year 2004, whereas the oldest respondents (birth year 1980)
turned 20 during calendar year 2000.  Some respondents may not be used
in all tables if information about their work history is incomplete.


   School enrollment status.  If a respondent was enrolled in high school
or college at any point during the month of October, he or she is counted
as enrolled.  If a respondent reported no school enrollment during October
and also had not earned a high school diploma or General Educational Devel-
opment (GED) credential, he or she is counted as a high school dropout.

   Training.  The NLSY97 obtains information on formal training experi-
ences outside of regular schooling.  The training questions explore what
kinds of training respondents obtain, where and when they are trained, how
the training is paid for, and what skills are acquired.  Training programs
include:  Business or secretarial training; vocational, technical, or trade
training; vocational rehabilitation centers; licensed practical nursing or
registered nursing programs; apprenticeship programs; adult basic education
and GED programs; correspondence courses; formal company training or seminars;
and government training.

   Employed.  The NLSY97 collects employment histories for civilian jobs
and military service.  Respondents are classified as employed if they did
any work during the specified time period as paid employees, as self-
employed proprietors of their own businesses, or as unpaid workers in a
business owned by a member of their family, or if they were serving in
the Armed Forces.

   Unemployed.  Respondents are classified as unemployed if they did not
work during the specified time period but reported that they looked for
work or were on layoff from a job.  No probing for intensity of job
search is done.

   Not in the labor force.  Respondents are classified as not in the
labor force if they did not work or look for work during the specified
time period.

   Job.  A job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a
particular employer.  Jobs are therefore employer-based, not position-
based.  If a respondent indicates that he or she left a job but in a
subsequent survey returned to the same job, it would be counted as a new
job.  For example, if an individual worked in a retail establishment,
quit, and then resumed working for the same employer at a later date,
this sequence would count as two jobs, rather than one.  For self-
employed workers, each "new" job is defined by the individuals

   Race and ethnic groups.  In this release, the findings are reported
for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics or Latinos.
These groups are mutually exclusive but not exhaustive.  Other groups,
which are included in the overall totals, are not shown separately
because their representation in the survey sample is not sufficiently
large to provide statistically reliable estimates.  In other BLS
publications, estimates usually are published for whites, blacks, and
Hispanics or Latinos, but these groups are not mutually exclusive.
"Hispanic or Latino" is considered to be an ethnic group, and people in
that group can be of any race.  Most other BLS publications include
estimates for Hispanics or Latinos in the white and black race groups in
addition to the Hispanic or Latino ethnic group.

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: October 30, 2020