WLS Data Documentation

Survey Instruments

View or download all survey instruments used to collect data from WLS participants since 1957.


Browse codebooks grouped by collection wave.

Genetic Data

We have genomic data from the Illumina HumanOmniExpress array with quality metrics supplied by the University of Washington Genetic Analysis Center. Additionally we provide polygenic scores for download. LINK  Please email wls@ssc.wisc.edu for more information.

Non-Public Data

Read this if you need non-publicly available data to answer your research question.

Data Conventions and Forms of WLS data

Wondering what all those negative values mean and how we name variables? Read this.

Need help understanding the difference between wide-form and long-form WLS data? Read this.

Documentation for WLS Cross-Wave Harmonized Marriage Rosters

WLS staff combined information from each round of survey to create a marital history for each ever-married participant. View documentation for this roster here.

Supplementary Data

Documentation for Supplementary Data Available for download.

The data for the above files can be accessed here: Supplementary Data Files

Documentation for Data Available only by request

To request the data listed above please send email to wls@ssc.wisc.edu.

Scales (PDF)

Information about the scales constructed from the WLS data.

Retention and Response Rates (PDF)

Various ways of calculating retention and response rates of WLS 1957-2011.


Read detailed information about WLS data collection and variable creation.

Search for variables in the WLS dataset.

Issues with the Data

Issues with the data or documentation? Let us know.
Please contact us if you notice any problems with the data or documentation.