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Urban Poverty and Family Life Survey of Chicago, 1987 (ICPSR 6258)

Principal Investigator(s): Wilson, William Julius, et al.


This survey was undertaken to assemble a broad range of family, household, employment, schooling, and welfare data on families living in urban poverty areas of Chicago. The researchers were seeking to test a variety of theories about urban poverty. Questions concerned respondents' current lives as well as their recall of life events from birth to age 21. Major areas of investigation included household composition, family background, education, time spent in detention or jail, childbirth, fertility, relationship history, current employment, employment history, military service, participation in informal economy, child care, child support, child-rearing, neighborhood and housing characteristics, social networks, current health, current and past public aid use, current income, and major life events.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.

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    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.


DS1:  Raw Data File - Download All Files (16.805 MB)
ASCII + SPSS Setup   
DS2:  SPSS Export File - Download All Files (13.137 MB)
DS3:  SAS Data Definition Statements - Download All Files (3.413 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   
DS4:  Frequencies, Sections A-G (PDF)
No downloadable data files available.
DS5:  Frequencies, Sections H-O (PDF)
No downloadable data files available.
DS6:  Frequencies, Sections P-Y (PDF)
No downloadable data files available.
DS7:  SPSS Value Labels - Download All Files (2.978 MB)

ASCII + SPSS Setup   

Study Description


Wilson, William Julius, et al. Urban Poverty and Family Life Survey of Chicago, 1987. ICPSR06258-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1997.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • Carnegie Corporation
  • Chicago Community Trust
  • Ford Foundation
  • Institute for Research on Poverty
  • Joyce Foundation
  • Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • Spencer Foundation
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services
  • William T. Grant Foundation
  • Woods Charitable Fund

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    child care, child rearing, criminal histories, education, employment, families, family life, health status, household composition, income, military service, neighborhood characteristics, poverty, social networks, urban areas, welfare services

Geographic Coverage:    Chicago, Illinois, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1987

Date of Collection:   

  • 1987-02-21--1987-10-24

Universe:    Non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, and persons of Mexican or Puerto Rican ethnicity, aged 18-44, residing in 1986 in Chicago census tracts with 20 percent or more persons living under the poverty line.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Value labels for this study are being released in a separate file, Part 7, to assist users of SPSS Release 6.1 for Windows. The syntax window in this version of SPSS will read a maximum of 32,767 lines. If all value labels were included in the SPSS data definition file, the number of lines in the file would exceed 32,767 lines.

All references to card-image data in the codebook are no longer applicable.

During generation of the logical record length data file, ICPSR optimized variable widths to the width of the widest value appearing in the data collection for each variable. However, the principal investigator's user-missing data code definitions were retained even when a variable contained no missing data. As a result, when user-missing data values are defined (e.g., by uncommenting the MISSING VALUES section in the SPSS data definition statements) and exceed the optimized variable width, SPSS's display dictionary output will contain asterisks for the missing data codes.

Producer: University of Chicago, Center for the Study of urban Inequality, and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).


Sample:    Multistage stratified probability sample design yielding 2,490 observations (1,183 Blacks, 364 whites, 489 Mexican-origin persons, and 454 Puerto Rican-origin persons). Though Black respondents include parents (N = 1,020) and non-parents (N = 163), only parents were selected within non-Black groups. Response rates ranged from 73.8 percent for non-Hispanic whites to 82.5 percent for Black parents.

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:

  • Performed consistency checks.


Original ICPSR Release:   1994-10-19

Version History:

  • 1997-11-04 The documentation and frequencies are being released as PDF files, and an SPSS export file is now available. Also, the SAS data definition statements and SPSS data definition statements have been reissued with minor changes, and SPSS value labels are being released in Part 7 due to SPSS for Windows limitations.

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