NORC at the University of Chicago

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NORC at the University of Chicago
TypePrivate, nonprofit organization
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, U.S.
AffiliationsUniversity of Chicago
Formerly called
National Opinion Research Center

NORC at the University of Chicago is one of the largest independent social research organizations in the United States. Established in 1941 as the National Opinion Research Center, its corporate headquarters is located in downtown Chicago, with offices in several other locations throughout the United States. Organized as an independent corporation, more than half its board comes from faculty and administration of the University of Chicago. It also jointly staffs some of the university's academic research centers.[1]


The organization was founded by researcher Harry Field in 1941 as the National Opinion Research Center, with financial support from department-store heir and newspaper owner Marshall Field III (no relation) and the University of Denver, where it was located.[2] The center moved to the University of Chicago in 1947. Since its founding, NORC at the University of Chicago has conducted numerous social research projects involving opinion surveys, panel surveys, and marketing research. It also has conducted other data collection efforts for government agencies, nonprofit agencies, and corporations.

Data from surveys are also often analyzed in a wide range of social sciences, especially sociology. NORC is best known for its large, national surveys, but has also conducted qualitative and quantitative analyses, longitudinal analyses, methodological studies, and international projects.


NORC clients have included:

Notable projects[edit]

  • AP Votecast, 2018–present: A survey system of voters and non-voters developed with the Associated Press that replaces AP's exit polls. The system debuted in 2018.[20][21]
  • National Survey of Children's Health, 2003–present: Examines the physical and emotional health of children ages 0–17 years of age. Funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • National Immunization Survey (NIS), 1994–present: Provides the public with important statistics about childhood immunization and related health matters. Funded by the CDC.[5]
  • Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), 1992–present: Collects information about household financial characteristics and behavior. In the United States, it is thought to be the best source of information about family finances. Approximately 4,500 subjects participate in the survey. Funded by the Federal Reserve Board.[8]
  • General Social Survey (GSS), 1972–present: Monitors social change and the complexity of American society. This survey plays an important role in American sociology. After the U.S. Census, it is the second most frequently analyzed source of information for the social sciences in the United States. Funded by the Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation.[22]
  • National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), 1966–present: Asks questions about economic, social, and academic experiences of the subjects. The survey also researches issues related to youth entry into the work force. Funded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.[18]
  • 2012 NORC Presidential Election Study, September–November 2012: Nonpartisan study of public opinion on candidate favorability, perception of the economy, issue knowledge, and healthcare before and after the presidential election.[23] Funded by NORC at the University of Chicago.
  • Making Connections Survey (MCS), 2002–2011: Neighborhood-based, longitudinal and cross-sectional surveying residents in ten low-income communities across the United States. It serves as an evaluation of a larger AECF-supported initiative and was designed to collect data measuring how neighborhood change affects the well-being of children. The final survey dataset includes responses from roughly 28,000 interviews at three points in time. Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN), 2002–2010: The primary goals of this survey are to assess the prevalence and impact of special health care needs among children in the U.S., and to evaluate change over time. Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources & Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Florida Ballot Project, February–May 2001: Re-examined the approximately 180,000 uncounted ballots in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election. Funded by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Tribune Company, Palm Beach Post, St. Petersburg Times, and Associated Press.[7] NORC was featured in the 2003 documentary film Orwell Rolls in His Grave.
  • Sonic Boom Tests Reactions, 1961–1962: Public opinion measurement for the infamous sonic boom tests over Oklahoma City, which were intended to measure the impact of supersonic transports (SSTs) over populated areas. Funded by NASA.[9][10][11]


  • AmeriSpeak, October 2014–present: A representative cross-section of U.S households for the scientific study of public opinion. AmeriSpeak panelists take part in online and telephone surveys regarding current events, social and political trends, health care, government policies and programs, and consumer products and trends. Funded by NORC at the University of Chicago. (


  1. ^ "NORC and the University of Chicago". Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  2. ^ "1941 NORC: the Beginning". NORC. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  3. ^ "Gates Millennium Scholars Tracking and Longitudinal Study: YEAR 1 FINAL REPORT" (PDF). Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. October 2003. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  4. ^ "Washington State Achievers Program: Five Years of Changing Lives". Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. May 23, 2006. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "NCHS Home > Surveys and Data Collection Systems > National Immunization Survey: Welcome Survey Participant". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "Information about the National Flu Survey" (PDF). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e Fessenden, Ford (November 12, 2001). "How the Consortium of News Organizations Conducted the Ballot Review". New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Economic Research & Data > Survey of Consumer Finances: Working Papers". Federal Reserve Board. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Community reactions to sonic booms" (PDF). NASA. August 1962. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Effects of sonic boom on people - St. Louis, Missouri, 1961-1962". NASA. May 1, 1966. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "EFFECTS OF SONIC BOOM ON PEOPLE: ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, 1961-1962". Defense Technical Information Center. May 1, 1966. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  12. ^ "2010 CENSUS PLANNING MEMORANDA SERIES: 2010 Census Integrated Communications Program (ICP) Evaluation Report" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. March 15, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  13. ^ "MARINES PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SURVEY PARTICIPATION". U.S. Department of Defense. November 1, 2000. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  14. ^ "Digest of Education Statistics: 2011: Appendix A.4. National Science Foundation - Survey of Earned Doctorates". U.S. Department of Education. 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  15. ^ "Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey Briefing" (PDF). U.S. Department of Energy. April 15, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  16. ^ Fessenden, Ford (May 16, 2012). "NCHS Home > Surveys and Data Collection Systems > State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey: National Survey of Children's Health". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  17. ^ "OPRE Home > Child Care Policy Research Grantees: National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)". U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  18. ^ a b "A Guide to the 1979–2000 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Data" (PDF). Bureau of Labor Statistics. December 2001. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  19. ^ Hughes, Sarah (January 15, 2008). "Survey Data Collection for Impact Evaluation" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  20. ^ "AP VoteCast |". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  21. ^ Zitner, Aaron (2018-11-06). "Poll Uses Novel Method to Learn Who Voted and Why". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  22. ^ "The General Social Survey (GSS) The Next Decade and Beyond: An Overview of the General Social Survey" (PDF). National Science Foundation. May 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  23. ^ "Home > Our Research > Projects > 2012 NORC Presidential Election Study". NORC at the University of Chicago. 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2013.

External links[edit]