Racial Attitudes in Fifteen American Cities, 1968 (ICPSR 3500)

Published: Nov 13, 1997

Principal Investigator(s):
Angus Campbell; Howard Schuman


Version V2

This study explores attitudes and perceptions related to urban problems and race relations in 15 northern cities of the United States (Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Gary, Milwaukee, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, DC). More specifically, it seeks to define the social and psychological characteristics and aspirations of the Black and White urban populations. Samples of Blacks and Whites were selected in each of the cities in early 1968. The study employed two questionnaire forms, one for Whites and one for Blacks, and two corresponding data files were generated. Attitudinal questions asked of the White and Black respondents measured their satisfaction with community services, their feelings about the effectiveness of government in solving urban problems, and their experience with police abuse. Additional questions about the respondent's familiarity with and participation in antipoverty programs were included. Other questions centered on the respondent's opinions about the 1967 riots: the main causes, the purpose, the major participating classes, and the effect of the riots on the Black cause. Respondents' interracial relationships, their attitudes toward integration, and their perceptions of the hostility between the races were also investigated. White respondents were asked about their opinions on the use of governmental intervention as a solution for various problems of the Blacks, such as substandard schools, unemployment, and unfair housing practices. Respondent's reactions to nonviolent and violent protests by Blacks, their acceptance of counter-rioting by Whites and their ideas concerning possible governmental action to prevent further rioting were elicited. Inquiries were made as to whether or not the respondent had given money to support or hinder the Black cause. Other items investigated respondents' perceptions of racial discrimination in jobs, education, and housing, and their reactions to working under or living next door to a Black person. Black respondents were asked about their perceptions of discrimination in hiring, promotion, and housing, and general attitudes toward themselves and towards Blacks in general. The survey also investigated respondents' past participation in civil rights organizations and in nonviolent and/or violent protests, their sympathy with rioters, and the likelihood of personal participation in a future riot. Other questions probed respondents' attitudes toward various civil rights leaders along with their concurrence with statements concerning the meaning of "Black power." Demographic variables include sex and age of the respondent, and the age and relationship to the respondent of each person in the household, as well as information about the number of persons in the household, their race, and the type of structure in which they lived. Additional demographic topics include the occupational and educational background of the respondent, of the respondent's family head, and of the respondent's father. The respondent's family income and the amount of that income earned by the head of the family were obtained, and it was determined if any of the family income came from welfare, Social Security, or veteran's benefits. This study also ascertained the place of birth of the respondent and respondent's mother and father, in order to measure the degree of southern influence. Other questions investigated the respondent's military background, religious preference, marital status, and family composition.

Campbell, Angus, and Schuman, Howard. Racial Attitudes in Fifteen American Cities, 1968. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1997-11-13. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03500.v2

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1968-01 -- 1968-04

1968-01 -- 1968-04

The interviewing was conducted by four organizations, each responsible for certain cities: Survey Research Center of the University of Michigan--Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Detroit, National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago--Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cleveland, Gary, Newark, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, Survey Research Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, Institute for Survey Research of Temple University--Philadelphia. Each organization designed its own interviewer instructions and obtained its own population distribution figures. The interviews were coded by the Survey Research Center coding section.

All multiple-response variables exist as separate variables in the SAS and SPSS data definition statements and as single variables in all other files. Thus, the total number of variables defined in the SAS and SPSS data definition statements is not the same as that identified in the codebook.

Samples of Blacks and whites were selected in each of the cities, and approximately 175 respondents of each race were interviewed in early 1968. There were three stages of sampling. First, city blocks were selected within each city. Then, dwellings were selected within each city block. Finally, individuals were selected within each dwelling. In the first stage, city blocks were sampled with probabilities proportional to the number of dwellings after stratification by racial classification. Although white households had equal selection probabilities within a city, Black households in predominantly white blocks had a lower selection rate than Black households in racially mixed or predominantly Black neighborhoods. In the second stage, an average of five dwellings was selected from each sample block. Finally, in a sample household, all persons 16 to 69 years of age were listed by the interviewer. When only one person in the household was eligible, he or she was interviewed in half of the cases. When two persons were eligible, one was selected for interviewing. When there were three or more eligible persons in a household, at least one but not more than two were designated for the sample. Eligible persons were stratified by age so that, in general, when two individuals were to be interviewed, one was a member of the older generation and the other was one of the younger household members. The selection of respondents within the household was an objective procedure that allowed no substitution. In cases of racially mixed households, the selection procedure was unchanged.

Individuals between the ages of 16 and 69, living in private households within the 1960 corporate limits of the cities sampled (Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Gary, Milwaukee, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, DC). Persons with no place of residence, the institutional population, and persons in group quarters had no chance of selection for the study.

telephone interviews

survey data



1997-11-13 Logical record length data with SAS and SPSS data definition statements are now available for this collection. Note that because multiple mention variables are documented in the SAS and SPSS data definition statements, the number of variables associated with Part 1 and Part 2 increased. The codebook has been converted to a PDF file, and the data collection instrument and frequencies are now part of the codebook.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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