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Detroit Area Study, 1959: The Vitality of Supernatural Experience and a Fiscal Research Program (ICPSR 7323)

Principal Investigator(s): Swanson, Guy; Brazer, Harvey


This study of 767 adults in the Detroit metropolitan area provides information on their religious beliefs and practices, as well as their feelings about various forms of taxation such as sales tax, income tax, and property tax. The collection was a combination of two separate studies: THE VITALITY OF SUPERNATURAL EXPERIENCE by Guy Swanson, and A FISCAL RESEARCH PROGRAM by Harvey Brazer. Respondents were asked about their beliefs in the existence and characteristics of God, the amount of influence they felt that God had in their life, and how they thought God would feel about various situations. Also explored was the membership and level of activity in formal organizations for both the respondent and the respondent's spouse. The respondent was also asked to evaluate the performance of several institutions and professional groups such as colleges, their position on televisions in classrooms, the Federal Courts, doctors, and scientists. In addition, the respondent was asked to list the problems in the United States that were badly in need of resolution and to evaluate who was to blame for the problems and what could be done to solve them. Other items probed the respondent's opinions of educational television stations, the comparative quality of utility companies' services, government spending, and the most important things in life. Attitudes toward the use of taxes or use fees to pay for parks and garbage collection were also elicited. Demographic variables specify age, sex, race, education, place of birth, marital status, occupation, length of residence in the Detroit area, home ownership, length of time at present residence, number of children, original nationality of husband's and wife's family, political affiliation, and amount and sources of income.

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

Series: Detroit Area Studies Series

Access Notes

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Study Description


Swanson, Guy, and Harvey Brazer. Detroit Area Study, 1959: The Vitality of Supernatural Experience and a Fiscal Research Program. ICPSR07323-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-09-30. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07323.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07323.v2

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    cities, economic behavior, families, family life, government performance, government spending, income tax, local government, memberships, political affiliation, political attitudes, political participation, property taxes, public opinion, religious attitudes, religious beliefs, sales tax, social problems, social values, taxes

Geographic Coverage:    Detroit, Michigan, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1959

Date of Collection:   

  • 1959 (spring)

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Unknown Codes: The following variables show frequencies for values without explicit labels and were therefore labeled as unknown: V465, V467, V468, V469, V482, V488, V489

Documentation Note: V60 "Variable exists on the archives tape but is not recorded in the codebook. Values range 0-7".


Sample:    A multistage sample of 767 adults aged 21 and older in households in the Detroit metropolitan area in 1959.

Data Source:

personal interviews

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:   1984-07-02

Version History:

  • 2010-09-30 SAS, SPSS, and Stata ready-to-go files were added.

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