Several projects at NORC include studies of sexual behavior and sexuality. An NORC workstation
Hyde Park Office Chat NORC conference room Older Couple Hugging A work session in NORC's offices

Human Development

What kind of environment nurtures human potential and well being? NORC’s cross-disciplinary approach has helped numerous organizations and government uncover data and insights about topics ranging from healthcare and education, to family finances, substance use, sexuality and even happiness. Our advanced capabilities, and extensive experience in areas like child development and healthcare support effective decision making for human development programs and policies.

Special areas of expertise include:


Representative Projects

General Social Survey (GSS). Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is NORC’s longest running project, and one of its most influential. More

Getting on Track Early for School Success: An Assessment System to Support Effective Instruction. Stephen W. Raudenbush and a team of co-investigators from the University of Chicago’s Committee on Education, Urban Education Institute, Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education, and NORC at the University of Chicago are developing objective, valid, and instructionally relevant tools for assessing the literacy and math skills of children of ages three and four.   More

HighScope Perry Preschool Study. Sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the HighScope Perry Preschool Study (HPPS) is designed to teach us about the lasting effects of early childhood interventions, such as preschool programs.  The original Perry Preschool Program targeted a disadvantaged African American population in the 1960s. Evaluated initially by a clinical trial of preschool age children, participants were then followed periodically through age 40. Results from this longitudinal survey show strong evidence for the benefits of children in the treatment group in the areas of improved school readiness, higher female graduation rates, higher employment rates and earnings, reduced involvement in crime, and high economic return on investment. More

National Children's Study (NCS) Vanguard Study. In response to the Children’s Health Act of 2000, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) commissioned the National Children’s Study (NCS) Vanguard Study to prepare for a large-scale, national study of the effects of the environment on the growth, development, and health of children across the United States. More

National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP). The National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) is a population-based study of health and social factors on a national scale, aiming to understand the well-being of older, community-dwelling Americans.o More

See all Human Development projects


News Peace Talks Radio: NORC's Louise Hawkely talks about loneliness and how it's researched More
Posted: 6.4.2015 4:46PM
News The New York Times: Looking at how, and why, people cheat on their significant others, with data and research from the GSS More
Posted: 5.29.2015 4:37PM
News Slate: Calculating the frequency and regularity of your sex life, using General Social Survey data. More
Posted: 5.29.2015 4:35PM
News The Washington Post: Recent GSS findings suggest the racial views of Millennials More
Posted: 5.13.2015 2:00PM
News CBS News: Researching GSS data on American views of sex and sexuality over the decades More
Posted: 5.13.2015 1:44PM


Tom W. Smith

(773) 256-6288

Michael Davern

(312) 357-3770

Edward O. Laumann

(773) 702-8691

Linda Waite

(773) 256-6333

Jeffrey Hackett

(312) 759-4266