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Survey of Consumer Finances, 1957 (ICPSR 3616)

Version Date: Feb 16, 1992 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Economic Behavior Program. Survey Research Center. University of Michigan


Version V1

This data collection is one in a series of financial surveys of consumers conducted annually since 1946. In a nationally representative sample, the head of each spending unit (usually the husband, the main earner, or the owner of the home) was interviewed. The basic unit of reference in the study was the spending unit, but some family data are also available. The questions in the 1957 survey covered the respondent's attitudes toward national economic conditions and price activity, as well as the respondent's own financial situation. Other questions examined the spending unit head's occupation, and the nature and amount of the spending unit's income, debts, liquid assets, changes in liquid assets, savings, investment preferences, and actual and expected purchases of cars and other major durables. The survey also elicited respondent's attitudes about different methods of using income remaining after their expenses were met, e.g., investing in stocks or putting money in savings. In addition, the survey explored in detail the subject of housing, e.g., previous and present home ownership, value of respondent's dwelling, and mortgage information. Regarding financial assets, the respondent was asked questions on attitudes toward financial assets, minimum balance in checking accounts, and common stock ownership and changes. Also included were questions on life insurance coverage and premiums, and whether the spouse had a full-time job and how much of the year he or she worked. Personal data include number of people in the spending unit, age, sex, and education of the head, and the race and sex of the respondent.

Economic Behavior Program. Survey Research Center. University of Michigan. Survey of Consumer Finances, 1957. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1992-02-16.

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National Science Foundation (SBR-9617813)
1957-01 -- 1957-03

(1) Most of the data in the study pertain to a spending unit. For some variables, information from related spending units was combined to provide data on a family basis. The user should refer to the instructions and worksheets included with the codebook to ascertain the procedures followed in these computations. (2) The majority of the variables in the study represent information obtained through direct questioning of the respondent. Some variables, however, are the result of computations done for each interview, e.g., amount saved, total indebtedness, estimated income taxes, and the relation of these amounts to income. (3) In some instances, where important information was missing, assigned values were given. The assigned values were based on other known characteristics of the spending unit and occur only in a small proportion of the cases. Those variables containing assigned information are preceded by a lead variable, indicating for each case whether the value in the following variable is assigned or not. (4) The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

The respondents interviewed were drawn from a national sample of dwelling units. The dwelling units falling in the sample were chosen by area probability sampling to represent the United States population.

The population of the United States.

personal interviews

survey data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Economic Behavior Program, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan. SURVEY OF CONSUMER FINANCES, 1957. ICPSR version. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, Social Science Archive [producer], 1973. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999.

1984-05-11 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.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.


  • 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.
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