The purpose of this study was to survey Americans about perceived quality of life by measuring perceptions of their socio-psychological condition, their needs and expectations from life, and the degree to which those needs were satisfied. The data were collected via personal interviews from a nationwide probability sample of 2,164 persons 18 years of age and older during the summer of 1971. Closed and open-ended questions were used to probe respondents' satisfactions, dissatisfactions, aspirations, and disappointments in a variety of life domains, such as dwelling/neighborhood, local services (e.g., police, roads, and schools), public transportation, present personal life, life in the United States, education, occupation, job history/expectation, work life, housework, leisure activities, organizational affiliations, religious affiliation, health problems, financial situation, marriage (including widowhood, divorce, and separation), children/family life, and relationships with family and friends. In addition to broad questions about satisfaction with each of these domains and their importance to the respondents, specific sources of gratification and frustration are explored. Other questions focused on life as a whole and the extent to which respondents felt they had control over their lives (e.g., rating of various aspects of life, (dis)satisfaction with life, personal efficacy, and social desirability measures). Personal data include sex, age, race, ethnic background, childhood family stability, military service, and father's occupation and education. Observational data are included on housing and neighborhood characteristics as well as respondents' appearance, intelligence, and sincerity. An instructional subset of this study is also available (see ICPSR INSTRUCTIONAL SUBSET: QUALITY OF AMERICAN LIFE, 1971 [ICPSR 7516], also prepared by Campbell, Converse, and Rodgers.) It includes questions representative of the major areas covered in the original, longer survey. A related dataset, QUALITY OF AMERICAN LIFE, 1978 (ICPSR 7762), continues the survey conducted in 1971.
Russell Sage Foundation
National Science Foundation. Research Applied to National Needs (NSF GI-29904)
A national multistage area probability sampling of 2,164 persons (weighted to 9,561) was used. The 74 sample points, located in 36 states and Washington DC, included the two standard consolidated areas (New York/Northeastern New Jersey and Chicago/Northeastern Indiana), the ten largest SMSAs, and non-SMSAs that were either single counties or county groups. First stage stratification of SMSAs and counties was carried out independently within each of the four major geographical regions -- Northeast, North Central, South, and West -- each of which received representation in proportion to population.
Persons aged 18 years of age or older living within the conterminous United States, exclusive of households on military reservations.
Original Release Date
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:
- Standardized missing values.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.
- The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.