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Explorations in Equality of Opportunity, 1955-1970 [United States] (ICPSR 7671)

Principal Investigator(s): Eckland, Bruce K.


This data collection contains information gathered in a longitudinal survey of a national sample of adults who were high school sophomores in 1955 and who participated in a 1970 follow-up survey. The 1970 study was designed to explore the determinants and long-range consequences of individual mobility in the United States. In 1955, in 42 public high schools across the nation, 4,151 sophomores were given aptitude and career goals questionnaires by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). In 1970, the University of North Carolina's Institute for Research in Social Science (IRSS) attempted to contact the sample with mailback questionnaires. There were 2,077 usable responses. The sophomore sample approximated a representative national sample of its age cohort, with the following exceptions: (1) students attending predominantly non-white institutions were excluded, (2) private schools were excluded, (3) large-city schools tended to be under-represented, and (4) low-ability students and school dropouts tended to be under-represented. The mailed questionnaires included items concerning personal data and activities, high school and college experience (e.g., reasons for dropping out of high school, motivating factors for attending college, and number of high school friends who attended college), work experience (e.g., job history, hours worked, types of occupations, and work attitudes), family background and marriage (e.g., ethnicity, religion reared in, and highest level of education attained by immediate family members), and finances (e.g., financial obligations, income, and assets), as well as a wide range of questions on attitude and esteem (e.g., current feelings about hometown, present community, high school, and college). Women were asked additional questions concerning contraception, pregnancy, family size, and attitudes toward women's roles and work.

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Study Description


Eckland, Bruce K. Explorations in Equality of Opportunity, 1955-1970 [United States]. ICPSR07671-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07671.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07671.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • National Institute of Education
  • National Science Foundation
  • United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIE: OEG-4-71-0037, NSF: GU2059, PHS: HD05776-02)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    aspirations, college graduates, education, educational opportunities, employment, family history, family relationships, gender roles, high school students, job history, motivation, occupational mobility, quality of life, schools, social attitudes, social behavior, social indicators, social mobility, work attitudes, work environment

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1955--1970

Date of Collection:   

  • 1970 (spring)

Universe:    Adults in the United States who participated in a 1955 Educational Testing Survey as high school sophomores.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Some documentation for this study is available only on microfiche. It is more extensive than the PDF codebook documentation currently available online. The microfiche contain column locations, code descriptions, questionnaires, and frequencies. Contact ICPSR to obtain access to this information.


Sample:    A sample of 2,077 former students from 42 public high schools.

Data Source:

mailback questionnaires


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-03-18

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