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Economics, Labor, and Population Studies

The U.S. economy is facing major problems and millions of American families are hurting. Job loss and unemployment are at an all-time high. In fact, America has lost 1.5 million jobs over the last 10 years. Compounding the employment crisis, more Americans are losing health care coverage and states are struggling to fill record budget gaps. American households lost $13 trillion in wealth between mid-2007 and March 2009, or about 15 percent in all. That decline badly hit baby boomers just as they’re headed into retirement. And middle-income families whose head of household is age 50 or younger actually have smaller net incomes today than in 1983. Economic policy decision makers need high quality data and analyses to help them address these issues and emerging economic and labor issues in the coming years.

The Economics, Labor, and Population Studies Department houses many of NORC’s large-scale flagship surveys that investigate such subject areas as labor force participation, the finances of consumers, housing needs, and trends in general social indicators. Our multi-disciplinary team includes experts in survey design and methodology, multi-mode data collection, data dissemination, and researching hard-to-reach populations.

The hallmarks of the division include the capacity to field both large and complex surveys, with high item quality and high response rates. This, combined with a strong analytical capacity, allows the department to provide a broad range of value added  quality services that  exceed the expectations of the clients it serves.

Areas Expertise

  • Consumer and Family Finances
  • Housing Conditions and Relocation
  • Labor and Employment
  • Poverty
  • Business Innovation
  • Special Populations
    • Immigrants and Refugees
    • Residents of Public Housing
    • Families Facing Foreclosure
    • Children, Youth, Runaways, and Foster Children
    • Elderly
    • Ethnic Minorities
    • Military

Major Capabilities

  • Data Collection and Management
  • Interviewer-Administered Data Collection
  • Self-Administered Data Collection
  • Multimode Data Collection
  • Statistics and Sampling
  • Sample Design
  • Statistical Data Analysis
  • Security and  Compliance
  • Secure Remote Data Access
  • Study Design and Survey Methodology
  • Questionnaire Design
  • Qualitative Techniques
  • Key Informant Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Ethnography
  • Technical Support
  • Translation and Interpretation Methodology for Multilingual Surveys
  • Dissemination and Knowledge Management
  • Disclosure Analysis
  • Program and Policy Analysis and Research
    • Performance Measurement

Representative Projects

2010 Census Integrated Communications Program Evaluation. NORC was selected to conduct a rigorous and independent evaluation of the communications campaign for the 2010 Census to assess the campaign's success and help preparations for the 2020 Census. More

American Competitiveness Survey.

In collaboration with Principal Investigators John Walsh from Georgia Tech and Ashish Arora and Wes Cohen from Duke University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NORC collected survey data from more than 6,600 U.S. businesses via computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). More

AmeriCorps Grantee Evaluation Monitoring & Guidance Project. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is partnering with NORC at the University of Chicago to strengthen and support various aspects of their AmeriCorps State and National grantees' evaluation activities. By providing grantees with the tools they need to improve the quality of their program evaluations, CNCS hopes to better estimate the broader community impacts of AmeriCorps programs.  More

Assessment of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Housing Needs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has contracted with the Urban Institute and its partners, among them NORC at the University of Chicago, to conduct an assessment of housing needs in tribal areas in the United States.  More

Census PVS Assessment. As part of the Person Identification Validation System Assessment engagement with the Census Bureau, NORC has conducted a review of the Census Bureau’s record linkage methods associated with the PVS, as well as an environmental scan of record linkage methods used by other government agencies—both within and outside of the U.S.—and private enterprises.  More

See all Economics, Labor, and Population Studies projects
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