Overview of the Project

The Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) is an interdisciplinary study of how families, schools, and neighborhoods affect child and adolescent development. It was designed to advance the understanding of the developmental pathways of both positive and negative human social behaviors. In particular, the Project examined the pathways to juvenile delinquency, adult crime, substance abuse, and violence. At the same time, the Project also provided a detailed look at the environments in which these social behaviors take place by collecting substantial amounts of data about urban Chicago, including its people, institutions, and resources.

The Project's design consisted of two major components. The first was an intensive study of Chicago's neighborhoods, particularly the social, economic, organizational, political, and cultural structures and the dynamic changes that take place in the structures over time. The second component was a series of coordinated longitudinal studies that followed over 6,000 randomly selected children, adolescents, and young adults to examine the changing circumstances of their lives and the personal characteristics that might lead them toward or away from a variety of antisocial behaviors.

Further information about PHDCN is found in:

Sampson, Robert J. 2012. Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Some articles which may be out of date but may be of interest to some researchers include:

Earls, F. J., & C. A. Visher. 1997. Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods: A Research Update (PDF) [NIJ Research in Brief]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice. NCJ 163603 (9).

Tonry, M., L. E. Ohlin, & D. P. Farrington. 1991. Human Development and Criminal Behavior: New Ways of Advancing Knowledge. Research in Criminology, ed. A. Blumstein & D. P. Farrington. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Also, from time to time, documents of historical interest (PDF) from the Project's administrative and background files will be added here.

Enhancing & Archiving PHDCN Data

The PHDCN data and research materials were processed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) at the University of Michigan's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). A three-year award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supported the initial archiving of PHDCN data and two summer workshops to train researchers in how to use these data. The National Institute of Justice provides continued support to maintain and further enhance the Project through an interagency cooperative agreement with NACJD.

The NACJD staff are making this large and complex data collection easily accessible to the research community by:

Read Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) Data Now Available (Marz and Stamatel, 2006) for more information about the archiving project.


NACJD disseminates the following types of quantitative data from PHDCN. The information provided on the pages listed shows the availability of each of the data components.

Funding Agencies

The PHDCN data collection was funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Other PHDCN research sponsors included:

PHDCN Research Staff

Principal Investigator: Felton J. Earls, M.D., Harvard Medical School

Scientific Directors:

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., Teachers College, Center for the Study of Children and Families, Columbia University

Stephen Raudenbush, Ed.D., Department of Sociology, The University of Chicago

Robert J. Sampson, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, Harvard University

PHDCN Archive Staff

Jukka Savolainen, Ph.D., Research Scientist and Director

Chelsea Samples-Steele, Project Manager for User Experience