Access the WLS Data
Browse and search the data documentation to find the data you want.
Download complete datasets
Download pre-packaged WLS datasets in the format of your choice.
Download Preliminary Data
Download Preliminary 2011 data files and documentation.
Download a subset
Download a subset of the WLS data containing only the data of interest to you.
Download utility programs
Download programs that are useful for working with the WLS data.
Download supplemental data files
Download college or 1975 employer characteristics or 1957-1993 female grad's job history.
Issues with the documentation? Let us know.
Please contact us if you notice any problems with the documentation.
In order to protect the identities of research participants, some variables are only available to approved project investigators in secure environments. A note in the codebooks identifies each of these variables. Geography, months of births and deaths, data about high school friends, relationships between sample members, and names of colleges are not available for public download. Many monetary values, height, weight, and body mass index are top and/or bottom coded to prevent identification of outliers. Researchers with a legitimate research interest in such non-public data may contact the WLS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of the downloadable data files are compressed in ZIP format. The order of the variables in the data files is the same as the order of the variables in the codebooks/documentation. The "complete" datasets contain the data for all waves, combining the files from 1957-77, 1992 phone and mail, 1994 phone and mail, and 2004-07 phone and mail into one dataset. If a variable is not available due to non-interview, it will have the system missing value. For all SPSS portable files, variable and value labels are declared, and the refused/not ascertained category is normally defined as missing. SAS permanent datasets have variable labels, and most refused/not ascertained values are declared as missing values. The STATA datasets contain variable and value labels and a missing declaration for the refused category. The variable names are in lower case in Stata; Stata is case sensitive.