Midlife in the United States (MIDUS): Survey of Minority Groups [Chicago and New York City], 1995-1996 (ICPSR 2856)

Version Date: Mar 21, 2018 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Diane L. Hughes, New York University. Department of Psychology; Richard A. Shweder, University of Chicago. Committee on Human Development



Version V4 ()

  • V4 [2018-03-21]
  • V3 [2005-09-02] unpublished
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This survey of minority groups was part of a larger project to investigate the patterns, predictors, and consequences of midlife development in the areas of physical health, psychological well-being, and social responsibility. Conducted in Chicago and New York City, the survey was designed to assess the well-being of middle-aged, urban, ethnic minority adults living in both hyper-segregated neighborhoods and in areas with lower concentrations of minorities. Respondents' views were sought on issues relevant to quality of life, including health, childhood and family background, religion, race and ethnicity, personal beliefs, work experiences, marital and close relationships, financial situation, children, community involvement, and neighborhood characteristics. Questions on health explored the respondents' physical and emotional well-being, past and future attitudes toward health, physical limitations, energy level and appetite, amount of time spent worrying about health, and physical reactions to those worries. Questions about childhood and family background elicited information on family structure, the role of the parents with regard to child rearing, parental education, employment status, and supervisory responsibilities at work, the family financial situation including experiences with the welfare system, relationships with siblings, and whether as a child the respondent slept in the same bed as a parent or adult relative. Questions on religion covered religious preference, whether it is good to explore different religious teachings, and the role of religion in daily decision-making. Questions about race and ethnicity investigated respondents' backgrounds and experiences as minorities, including whether respondents preferred to be with people of the same racial group, how important they thought it was to marry within one's racial or ethnic group, citizenship, reasons for moving to the United States and the challenges faced since their arrival, their native language, how they would rate the work ethic of certain ethnic groups, their views on race relations, and their experiences with discrimination. Questions on personal beliefs probed for respondents' satisfaction with life and confidence in their opinions. Respondents were asked whether they had control over changing their life or their personality, and what age they viewed as the ideal age. They also rated people in their late 20s in the areas of physical health, contribution to the welfare and well-being of others, marriage and close relationships, relationships with their children, work situation, and financial situation. Questions on work experiences covered respondents' employment status, employment history, future employment goals, number of hours worked weekly, number of nights away from home due to work, exposure to the risk of accident or injury, relationships with coworkers and supervisors, work-related stress, and experience with discrimination in the workplace. A series of questions was posed on marriage and close relationships, including marital status, quality and length of relationships, whether the respondent had control over his or her relationships, and spouse/partner's education, physical and mental health, employment status, and work schedule. Questions on finance explored respondents' financial situation, financial planning, household income, retirement plans, insurance coverage, and whether the household had enough money. Questions on children included the number of children in the household, quality of respondents' relationships with their children, prospects for their children's future, child care coverage, and whether respondents had changed their work schedules to accommodate a child's illness. Additional topics focused on children's identification with their culture, their relationships with friends of different backgrounds, and their experiences with racism. Community involvement was another area of investigation, with items on respondents' role in child-rearing, participation on a jury, voting behavior, involvement in charitable organizations, volunteer experiences, whether they made monetary or clothing donations, and experiences living in an institutional setting or being homeless. Respondents were also queried about their neighborhoods, with items on neighborhood problems including racism, vandalism, crime, drugs, poor schools, teenage pregnancy, the existence of social networks, the frequency of contact with family members, social interaction with neighbors, sense of community, whether the respondent owned or rented their home, and the financial, legal, and medical problems of family members. A final set of questions sought respondents' assessments of their life and their expectations for the future. Additional background information on respondents includes age, ethnicity, and gender.

Hughes, Diane L., and Shweder, Richard A. Midlife in the United States (MIDUS): Survey of Minority Groups [Chicago and New York City], 1995-1996. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-03-21. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02856.v4

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John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Research Network on Successful Midlife Development

Census tract

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1995 -- 1996
1995 -- 1996 (Chicago: August 1995-May 1996, New York City:August 1995-June 1996)
  1. MIDUS is the main research activity of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Network on Successful Midlife Development (MIDMAC). Additional information on MIDMAC research projects is provided on the MIDMAC Web site. The MIDUS Project is continuing at the University of Wisconsin Institute of Aging.
  2. The title of this study was changed from Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS): Survey of Minority Groups [Chicago and New York City], 1995-1996, to Midlife in the United States (MIDUS): Survey of Minority Groups [Chicago and New York City], 1995-1996, on May 9, 2017.


Stratified random sampling with fixed quotas for ethnicity, gender, age, and labor force status.

Adult minority residents 25 years of age or older in Chicago and New York City.


personal interviews



2018-03-21 This collection is being updated, per request from the PI, to reflect a title change; the corresponding downloadable files are only being updated to reflect the title change, where applicable.

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:
  • Hughes, Diane L., and Richard A. Shweder. Midlife in the United States (MIDUS): Survey of Minority Groups [Chicago and New York City], 1995-1996. ICPSR02856-v4. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-03-21. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02856.v4

2005-09-02 This study was intensively processed in an attempt to resolve discrepancies involving undocumented codes and missing values resulting from skip patterns. Enhanced study documentation was also provided.

2004-06-23 Six geographic variables were blanked by ICPSR to ensure respondents' anonymity. The codebook has been modified to reflect these changes.

2002-03-29 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.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data contains various weight variables which could be considered for further analysis.



  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.