Data Sharing for Demographic Research

This study was originally processed, archived, and disseminated by Data Sharing for Demographic Research (DSDR), a project funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Study of Family Life in Urban China, 1999 (ICPSR 28143)

Alternate Title:   Three City Survey, 1999

Principal Investigator(s): Xie, Yu, University of Michigan; Pan, Zhongdang, University of Wisconsin-Madison


The Study of Family Life in Urban China, also referred to simply as the "Three-City Survey," is a 1999 survey of urban residents in three large Chinese cities: Shanghai, Wuhan, and Xi'an. The study focused on the social and economic aspects of the family, particularly, the effects of economic reform on family life, cultural practices, and civic values.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Xie, Yu, and Zhongdang Pan. Study of Family Life in Urban China, 1999. ICPSR28143-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-05-26.

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This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    cities, cognitive functioning, cultural values, economic reform, educational background, employment, family, family background, financial support, income, leisure, recreation

Smallest Geographic Unit:    city

Geographic Coverage:    China (Peoples Republic), Global, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xi'an

Time Period:   

  • 1999 (May to August)

Date of Collection:   

  • 1999 (May to August)

Unit of Observation:    individual

Universe:    Adults 18 years of age or older living in the cities of Shanghai, Wuhan, or Xi'an.

Data Type(s):    survey data


Study Purpose:    To study the effects of economic reform on people's family lives in three large Chinese cities.

Sample:    A two-stage probability sampling method was utilized, with neighborhood as the first stage cluster and household as the second stage cluster. The survey contains a main sample as well as an intergenerationally matched sample. At each research site of the Three-City Survey, a probability sample of about 1,300 adults (18 or older), was initially targeted as the main sample. Whenever possible, the respondent's adult child (for a respondent 61 years of age or above) or elder parent (for a respondent 60 years of age or younger) who lived in the same city was also interviewed. Please see the study documentation for more detail.

Mode of Data Collection:    face-to-face interview

Data Source:

survey interviews

Response Rates:    The response rate for Shanghai was 78.62 percent, for Wuhan 86.43 percent, and for Xi'an 78.75 percent. The total response rate was 81.29 percent.

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:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2010-05-26

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