Procedures for Estimating Parenthood and Marital Status for Respondents to the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972

by Thomas J. Blaschke, Gus Haggstrom, Peter A. Morrison

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Users of the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS) often need to track the processes whereby families are formed, expanded, and dissolved. Specific variables that mark these processes — changes in marital status and parenthood status — are imperfectly measured by the NLS. The information they furnish is both ambiguous and inconsistent; in many cases, important items are missing, raising the possibility of systematic biases in analyzing the data. This Note outlines procedures we have devised for estimating changes in parenthood and marital status for NLS respondents. Variables that summarize the information on parenthood and marital status are estimated: number of children as of the first week of October in 1973, 1974, and 1976; a composite estimate of the date of first marriage; and marital status as of the first week of October in 1973, 1974, and 1976. A FORTRAN subroutine that creates these variables is appended.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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