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Soviet Interview Project, 1979-1985

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Millar, James R. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Anderson, Barbara A. (University of Michigan)
  • Bahry, Donna (New York University)
  • Garrard, John (University of Arizona)
  • Gregory, Paul R. (University of Houston)
  • Karklins, Rasma (University of Illinois-Chicago)
  • Nie, Norman (University of Chicago)
  • Silver, Brian D. (Michigan State University)
  • Swafford, Michael (Vanderbilt University)
  • Vinokur, Aaron (University of Haifa (Israel))
  • Zimmerman, William (University of Michigan)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Council for Soviet and East European Research
Free Keywords
crime; education; emigration; ethnicity; everyday life; family life; immigration; income; life satisfaction; living conditions; political participation; politics; public opinion; quality of life; social attitudes; social life; work; work environment
  • Abstract

    This survey was undertaken to study everyday life in the Soviet Union by conducting highly-structured interviews with a probability sample of eligible Soviet emigrants in the United States. An interdisciplinary research team constructed a questionnaire with the expectation that the results would contribute not only to Sovietology, but to general theories in a number of academic disciplines, especially political science, economics, and sociology. Respondents were asked to comment on topics such as: crime, culture and the arts, education, ethnicity (or nationality), family life, fertility, friends, health and diet, housing, income and earnings, language practices, mass media, military experience, political and social opinions, politics, participation in organizations, religion, satisfaction, standard of living, and work. To insure that "normal" life experiences would be described, respondents were asked to define and discuss their last normal period in the USSR. Since applying to emigrate usually brings marked changes in Soviet citizens' lives, respondents reported the month and year in which they applied to emigrate, whether plans to emigrate had significantly changed their lives even before that date, and if so, specified the month and year in which their lives changed. Interviewers then made certain that all descriptions of day-to-day life in the Soviet Union referred to the period before the question of emigration became a significant issue for respondents.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Raw Data
    • DS2: SPSS-X Export File
    • DS3: SAS Data Definition Statements
    • DS4: Alphabetical Index of Variables
    • DS5: Sequential Index of Variables
Temporal Coverage
  • 1979 / 1985
    Time period: 1979--1985
  • 1983 / 1987
    Collection date: 1983--1987
Geographic Coverage
  • Global
  • United States
Sampled Universe
The universe is the fairly complete list of 35,386 emigrants who arrived in the United States between January 1, 1979 and December 31, 1985. However, the focus of the study is the "referent Soviet population" (the sector of Soviet society the survey respondents could represent). The referent Soviet population is the "adult European population in large and medium-sized Soviet cities."
Probability sample stratified on four background variables: nationality, region of last employment in the USSR, highest level of education attained, and size of city in which last employed. Individuals included in the sample were between the ages of 21 and 70 inclusive at the time of arrival in the United States.
Collection Mode
  • For reasons of confidentiality, many variables (such as detailed occupation) have been collapsed and others have been omitted from the datafile and codebook. The hardcopy codebook materials include some information written in Russian. Additional documentary materials available upon request include coding manual, questionnaires, and general specifications.

Funding insitution(s): National Council for Soviet and East European Research (701).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 8694 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR08694.v1
  • Gang, Ira N., Stuart, Robert C.. Does background matter? The transmission of human capital from a planned to a market economy. International Migration Review.34, (2), 511-537.2000.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Gang, Ira N., Stuart, Robert C.. What difference does a country make? Earnings by Soviets in the Soviet Union and in the United States. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance.37, 345 -1997.
    • ID: 10.1016/S1062-9769(97)90072-7 (DOI)
  • Gang, Ira N., Stuart, Robert C.. Urban to urban migration: Soviet patterns and post-Soviet implications. Comparative Economic Studies.38, (1), 21-36.1996.
    • ID: 10.1057/ces.1996.2 (DOI)
  • Linz, Susan J.. Gender differences in the Russian labor market. Journal of Economic Issues.30, (1), 161 -1996.
  • Linz, Susan J.. Do Job Rights Govern Employment Patterns in Transition Economies?. American Economic Review.85, (2), 425-431.1995.
  • Bahry, Donna, Silver, Brian D.. Soviet citizen participation on the eve of democratization. American Political Science Review.84, (3), 821-847.1990.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Carnaghan, Ellen, Bahry, Donna. Political attitudes and the gender gap in the USSR. Comparative Politics.22, (4), 379-399.1990.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Gregory, Paul R., Collier, Irwin L., Jr.. Unemployment in the Soviet Union: Evidence from the Soviet Interview Project. American Economic Review.78, (4), 613-632.1988.
  • Gregory, Paul R., Kohlhase, Janet E.. The Earnings of Soviet Workers: Evidence from the Soviet Interview Project. Review of Economics and Statistics.70, (1), 23-35.1988.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Anderson, Barbara A., Silver, Brian D.. The Validity of Survey Responses: Insights from Interviews of Married Couples in a Survey of Soviet Emigrants. Social Forces.66, (2), 537-554.1987.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Bahry, Donna, Silver, Brian D.. Intimidation and the symbolic uses of terror in the USSR. American Political Science Review.81, (4), 1065-1098.1987.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Millar, James R.. Politics, Work, and Daily Life in the U.S.S.R.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1987.
  • Millar, James R.. Politics, Work, and Daily Life in the USSR: A Survey of Former Soviet Citizens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1987.
  • Anderson, Barbara A., Silver, Brian D.. The Validity of Survey Responses: Insights from Interviews of Multiple Respondents in a Household in a Survey of Soviet Emigrants. Soviet Interview Project Working Paper Series.14, . 1986.
  • Millar, James R.. Emigrants as Sources of Information about the Mother Country: The Soviet Interview Project. Soviet Interview Project Working Paper Series.5, Urbana-Champagne, IL: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne. 1983.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 8 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Millar, James R.; Anderson, Barbara A.; Bahry, Donna; Garrard, John; Gregory, Paul R. et. al. (1987): Soviet Interview Project, 1979-1985. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.