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The State and Life Chances in Urban China, 1949-1994 (ICPSR 3552)

Principal Investigator(s): Zhou, Xueguang, Duke University. Department of Sociology; Moen, Phyllis, Cornell University, Department of Sociology


The main goal of this study was to examine life chances among urban residents of China over time. Respondents aged 25-65 provided retrospective information concerning their education, work experience, political party membership, housing, family structure, and other social indicators. Those polled were asked about the type of education they received, whether they had an educational specialty (law, medicine, etc.), and what the location of their school was. Housing information collected on respondents included number of residents in the household, number of rooms, and living space, as well as whether there was a kitchen, tap water, a toilet, and a phone in the household. Respondents were also asked when they started working, in what economic sector, what the size of their work unit was, where it was located, and the type of ownership, as well as what their occupation was, whether it was a permanent or a temporary job, and the type of official position they held (party, administrative, technical, or other position). Additionally, respondents described their satisfaction with current living conditions and their state of health, and provided information on their family background (peasants, workers, military, clerks, etc.). Other information gathered on respondents included gender, date of birth, marital status, number of children, number of siblings, Youth League and Communist Party membership, and respondents' monthly income. Basic information related to respondents' parents (age, education, occupation, Communist Party membership, and others) was also provided. The same information was collected on respondents' spouses (spousal information was provided by either the spouse or the respondent).

Access Notes

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Dataset - Download All Files (43.099 MB)
SAS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup   

Study Description


Zhou, Xueguang, and Phyllis Moen. The State and Life Chances in Urban China, 1949-1994. ICPSR03552-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-08-09. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03552.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03552.v2

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 (SBR 9413540)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    education, family background, household composition, housing, housing conditions, life satisfaction, living conditions, party membership, political affiliation, quality of life, social indicators, standard of living, urban population, work experience

Geographic Coverage:    China (Peoples Republic), Global

Time Period:   

  • 1949--1994

Date of Collection:   

  • 1994-05--1994-12

Universe:    Persons aged 25-65 residing in urban areas in China.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

In this hierarchical dataset the data for each case are written in a multi-record format. The data are organized as a series of event records for each respondent/spouse couple. SAS setup file converts this dataset to a rectangular SAS file with one record per couple. The SAS file contains 4,073 cases and 1,366 variables.


Sample:    Stratified random sample.

Data Source:

personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   2002-12-09

Version History:

  • 2017-08-09 Per user request, ICPSR created and made available a SAS transport file and Stata data file using the SAS setup and ASCII data.

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