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Detroit Area Study, 1971 - Social Problems and Social Change in Detroit




Duncan, O. D., & Schuman, H. (2020, September 28). Detroit Area Study, 1971 - Social Problems and Social Change in Detroit.


The study was conducted during the spring and summer of 1971. The aim of the 1971 Detroit Area Study was to gather information on social change in the Detroit area by replicating items from nine earlier Detroit Area Studies that were conducted in 1953-1959, 1968 and 1969. The criteria used for selecting the question items were that they: (1) not be dated by wording or subject matter, (2) be relevant to some problem of current public concern or a continuing issue of sociological theory, and (3) be of the type that would be manageable in a long interview on diverse subjects. The questions chosen to be included in the 1971 Detroit Area Study examined issues such as values in marriage, ideal number of children, satisfaction of wives with marriage, decision-making and division of labor within a marriage, attitudes toward women and work, child-rearing, social participation, religious participation and beliefs, moral and job values, political orientation and participation, evaluation of various institutions and racial attitudes. In addition to the items replicated from the previous studies, respondents' attitudes toward the United States sending troops to Vietnam were explored. Background variables established respondents' age, sex, race, educational level, marital status, occupation, class identification and relationship to head of household. Demographic information also was collected on the respondent's spouse and parents.

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Data File

Cases: 1881
Variables: 401
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection

Spring and summer of 1971

Funded By

University of Michigan and Russell Sage Foundation

Collection Procedures

Face-to-face interviews

Sampling Procedures

This study utilizes a multistage probability sample. The sample of dwelling units from which the respondents for the 1971 Detroit Area Study were selected was drawn from the Detroit metropolitan area. One adult, 21 years or older, was randomly selected from among all adults in the dwelling unit. Two forms of the questionnaire were administered, with about half of the respondents randomly assigned each form. The response rate was 80 percent, yielding 1,881 completed interviews.

Since the 1971 DAS study was an attempt to replicate earlier studies, it was important to define the target population to be comparable to populations sampled during the 1950s. It was decided that the best strategy to maintain comparability between the 1971 survey and the earlier studies was to expand the geographic boundaries of the sample area. The movement of people outward from the city, the expansion of the suburbs and the construction of major transportation led the investigators to expand the sample to include suburban areas north of Detroit.

Principal Investigators

Otis D. Duncan and Howard Schuman

Related Publications

Duncan, O.D., H. Schuman, and B. Duncan. 1973. Social Change in a Metropolitan Community. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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