Letter from the Director

Dear NLSY97 Respondents,

Since receiving your first interview, you have transitioned from school to work and into adulthood. Over the years, you have updated us about your work experiences, schooling, marriages, children, and so much more. We are so appreciative of your participation in the NLSY97 survey.

The value of the NLSY97 is that we can see not only where you are today, but how you got there.  And I again look forward to working with you to ensure that the NLSY97 continues to be successful at documenting the lives of Americans as they grow and change over time.  It is only through studies like the NLSY97 that we are able to understand the different experiences of individuals and their families along many dimensions—work, training, family relationships, health, and education. 

“Only Time Will Tell” is a common saying particularly fitting for a longitudinal survey. It is only in the fullness of time that we understand how an individual’s early experiences shape their future outcomes. And because your story continues to unfold, the information you provide now is more important than ever! 

We want you to know that as the years have been counted and milestones added, more and more research has been done using the NLSY97.  In fact, almost 700 articles and book chapters have been written using information from the NLSY97.  These studies are on topics such as employment, searching for a job, earnings, schooling, health, and much more.  Once research is complete, news organizations see the research and put that information out for the general public.  The awareness of issues facing your generation then becomes a catalyst for policy changes.

Finally, let me take a moment to express my sincere thanks for your past participation in the NLSY97.  Your willingness to offer your interview time is what keeps this important study going.

It is my hope that once again you will grant us the privilege of speaking with you and sharing your unique story.


Keenan Dworak-Fisher

Director, National Longitudinal Surveys
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics