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Detroit Area Study, 1984: The Process of Mate Choice and Nuptiality in Detroit

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Whyte, Martin K.
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • Detroit Area Studies Series
Publication Date
Free Keywords
child rearing; cities; dating (social); decision making; domestic responsibilities; economic behavior; expectations; families; family life; family work relationship; husbands; interpersonal communication; marital relations; marital satisfaction; marriage; remarriage; social life; spouses; wives; women
  • Abstract

    This Detroit Area Study was primarily concerned with investigating the process of mate choice over time and the impact of mate choice experiences on marital success. To this end, the survey questioned ever-married women about their dating and mate choice history, marital history, and satisfaction with and problems in existing marriages. Respondents were questioned about the steady boyfriends they had before their first marriage and whether they seriously considered marrying another man before they married their first husband. Women who answered in the affirmative to the latter were queried about the race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic characteristics of the man they had most seriously considered marrying before marrying their first husband, how long they went out together, and how the relationship broke off. Questions on the respondent's first marriage covered such things as how and where the respondent first met her husband, her age when they met, how long they were engaged, whether or not they lived together before marrying, whether she had doubts or sought advice about the decision to marry before the wedding, and whether her parents or her husband's parents approved or disapproved of the marriage. Women were also questioned about their career expectations before their first marriage, the religion and socioeconomic status of their first husband, and the date, place, and size of the wedding celebration as well as living arrangements in the first six months of marriage. Questions on the current or most recent marriage covered topics such as the marital division of labor, child-rearing practices and values, friendships shared with the husband, and satisfaction and and interaction with the husband, including the degree of communication, affection shown, disagreements, and physical abuse. Additional information gathered by the survey includes number children ever born, number of stepchildren and adoptions, and the age, race, ethnicity, education, religion, religiosity, employment status, occupation, and early family background of the respondent. More information about the Detroit Area Studies Project is available on this Web site.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1925 / 1984
    Time period: 1925--1984
  • Collection date: 1984
Geographic Coverage
  • Detroit
  • Michigan
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Ever-married women between the ages of 18 and 75 residing in housing units located in the Michigan counties of Wayne, Macomb, or Oakland.
Multistage area probability sample of households. Within each sampled household, one respondent was selected at random from all eligible women.
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
  • 9306 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09306.v1
  • Xu, Xiaohe. Convergence or divergence: the transformation of marriage and relationships in urban America and urban China. Journal of Asian and African Studies.33, (2), 181 -1998.
  • Maxwell, Rose A.. A matter of choice: The application of evolutionary and social exchange theories to actual mate choice. Dissertation, University of Cincinnati. 1996.
  • Whyte, Martin K.. Dating, Mating, and Marriage. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. 1990.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Whyte, Martin K. (1990): Detroit Area Study, 1984: The Process of Mate Choice and Nuptiality in Detroit. Archival Version. Detroit Area Studies Series. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.