Detroit Area Study, 1954: Ideal Family Size in Detroit and Administrative Behavior in a Metropolitan Community (ICPSR 7318)

Published: Jul 22, 2010

Principal Investigator(s):
Ronald Freedman; Morris Janowitz


Version V2

This study of adults aged 21 and older in the Detroit metropolitan area provides information on their contact with and attitudes toward government administrative agencies, their views regarding civic duties, and their organizational memberships in 1954. The study was a combination of two separate studies: IDEAL FAMILY SIZE IN DETROIT by Ronald Freedman, and ADMINISTRATIVE BEHAVIOR IN A METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY by Morris Janowitz. Respondents were asked about their contact with and knowledge of various agencies, including the Michigan Employment Security Commission and the Social Security Department. They were asked to evaluate the performance of the public schools, the County Sheriff's Department, state and local police, and local, county, and state government officials. Several questions were asked to determine the respondents' attitudes toward government employment and employees, specifically the prestige of various jobs in the public sector compared with comparable jobs in the private sector, and their preference for working for the United States government or a private firm. Other questions probed respondents' living experiences before coming to Detroit, their feelings about living in Detroit, and their views about collectivist versus individualist ideology, a national health insurance plan, military draft, taxes, changes in the Social Security system, the role of political influence in enabling private citizens to get help from government agencies, and the ideal family size. Also explored were respondents' understanding of the meaning of "red tape" and how much of it they thought was necessary, and their views on the extent of government's role in solving problems such as unemployment, education, and housing. Respondents were also asked about their political activities, political party preference, and electoral and voting participation. They were asked to identify the mass media on which they relied most for political information, the organizations they belonged to, and if they had a television set. Demographic variables specify age, sex, education, place of birth, marital status, number of children, nationality, religious preferences, occupation, family income, length of residence in the Detroit area, home ownership, length of time at present residence, and class identification.

More information about the Detroit Area Studies Project is available on the Detroit Area Studies Project Web site.

Freedman, Ronald, and Janowitz, Morris. Detroit Area Study, 1954:  Ideal Family Size in Detroit and Administrative Behavior in a Metropolitan Community. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-07-22.

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1954 (Spring)

Although this study also included a sample of interviews conducted in Macomb and Oakland counties, only the Wayne County data is included in this collection.

Variables V55 and V66 contain unknown codes.

The sample of dwelling units was selected using a multistage area probability design. Census tracts and blocks were selected with probabilities proportional to size. Approximately three dwelling units were selected in each block. One adult, aged 21 years and older, was selected randomly within each household.

Persons aged 21 or older living in households in Wayne County, Michigan.


survey data

The response rate was 86.3 percent.



2010-07-22 SPSS, SAS, and Stata setup files and ready-to-go files were released with variable labels and value labels. Online analysis capabilities with question text were also added.

1984-05-10 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:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


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

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