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Comparative Study of Community Power Research, 1920-1964 (ICPSR 26)

Principal Investigator(s): Gilbert, Claire W., Hunter College


This study contains data relevant to 166 community power studies conducted from 1920 to 1964. The goal of the data collection was to afford comparative analyses of these selected communities by any interested future researchers. Information is provided on the theoretical and methodological apparatus of the research, such as the major data collection techniques and the model of power utilized in the investigation. Additional information is given for the primary purpose of the research, the number of communities and the mode of entry into the communities studied, the number and scope of issues studied, the level of theoretical rigor, and the replicability of the study. Other variables provide information on the community power structure, formal structure, and characteristics of politics in the communities, such as the type of local government, electoral systems established, forms of formal and informal structures of power, political party dominating local politics, community conflict resolution, sources of innovation, and the place of experts, elite groups, masses, voters, and minorities in the community. There are also variables that provide information on the type of community and city, city rating, growth of the city, type of relationship between population growth and industrial growth, and population growth rate and population size of the city per square mile. Variables on the economic base of the community include the median income for the city in 1950 and in 1960, and the proportion of the population earning under $2,000 and under $3,000 in 1950, and over $10,000 in 1960. Demographic variables on the city's residents cover the education of the population in relation to the United States median, the median age from 1950 to 1960, the proportion of the population under 5 years, over 21 years, and under 65 years of age, and the proportion of the population that was non-white in any census year, of mixed parentage in 1960 in (where one parent was of foreign birth), and foreign-born between 1910 and 1960. Data are also provided on the researchers' sex, educational institutions attended, motivation for the research, and their publications based on the research findings.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


Dataset - Download All Files (1.589 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   

Study Description


Gilbert, Claire W. Comparative Study of Community Power Research, 1920-1964. ICPSR00026-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR00026.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR00026.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF GS-800)
  • International City Managers Association
  • Northwestern University. Center for Metropolitan Studies

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    cities, communities, community decision making, community elites, community participation, community power, electoral systems, income, industrial growth, local government, local politics, minorities, political parties, population growth rate, population size, urban areas

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1920--1964

Universe:    A total of 166 communities in the United States.

Data Type(s):    aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

The data map is provided as an ASCII text file, and the codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.


Data Source:

13th-16th Censuses of the United States, 1950 Census of Population, questionnaire by Claire W. Gilbert, and journal articles by Robert L. Carroll and Howard G. Nelson

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-03-18

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