Public Data Content and File Formats

The NAWSPAD file is currently available in three formats: SAS, Microsoft Excel, and CSV (comma separated values) for MS-DOS compatible computers and Macintosh computers.

The data files are accompanied by the NAWSPAD Codebooks: CodeBook_PA_1989-2002_508.pdf and CodeBook_PA_2003-2014_508.pdf and a spreadsheet NAWSPAD Variables and Labels 2014 that lists the variables and their labels. An additional file contains 80 replicate weights which allow users to calculate design-corrected standard errors accounting for the complex survey design. Additional information is available in An Introduction to Analyzing the NAWS Public Access Data.

The 1989-2014 NAWSPAD file contains information from 61,211 in-person interviews with hired crop farm workers. The interviews were conducted in 612 counties and 46 states during fiscal years 1989-2014 (October 1, 1988 to September 30, 2014).

The NAWSPAD file includes 26 years of cross-sectional data that can be used for trend analysis. During this time period, the NAWS sample size fluctuated from 1,500 to 3,600 a year. The NAWSPAD weight variable (PWTYCRD) includes a factor that correctly proportions the annual data so that it can be analyzed over time. Due to the relatively small sample sizes, it is recommended to combine at least two years of data for national-level analyses and four years of data for regional-level analyses.

Although the survey's content has changed over time, most of the survey's core variables on the demographic and employment characteristics of hired crop workers have not changed significantly. When changes have occurred, variables have been harmonized to facilitate trend analysis.

The 1989-2014 NAWSPAD file supports the questionnaire that was administered in FY 2014. Data from discontinued questions are not included in the NAWSPAD file. English and Spanish versions of the questionnaire, in hard copy and electronic format, can be obtained by contacting Daniel Carroll, Office of Policy Development and Research, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room N-5641, Washington, D.C. 20210; e-mail:; phone: (202) 693-2795.

The data include the following:

  • responses to questions on demographics, employment, and health;

  • summary variables on household composition that have been tabulated from the questionnaire's family grid;

  • summary variables on employment history that have been tabulated from the questionnaire's 12-month work grid;

  • analytical variables that are commonly used in analyses of NAWS data; and

  • an analytic variable used by the NAWS in identifying migrant workers. This variable indicates whether a respondent traveled a distance of more than 75 miles between two farm jobs or between a farm job and a usual residence during the past year. Additional analytic and summary variables allow analysts to create custom definitions of migrant and seasonal workers.

The data file includes 226 questionnaire variables and 113 summary and analytic variables. The spreadsheet NAWSPAD Variables and Labels 2014 lists the questionnaire and created variables and their labels. There are three tabs in the spreadsheet, one each for the complete set of variables, the created variables only, and the questionnaire variables only. The number of created and questionnaire variables in the spreadsheet sums to 361, which is three more than the actual number of unique variables (358). This is because three variables - the ID variable 'FWID', the fiscal year of interview 'FY', and the weight variable 'PWTYCRD' - are listed in both the created variables and questionnaire variables tabs.