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Annual Survey of Orange County 1984


Baldassare, Mark (2014), Annual Survey of Orange County 1984, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.7280/D17P4W


The Orange County Annual Survey is in progress for three years. Since 1982 in three consecutive surveys, the goal is to understand the nature of community life in Orange County. A related purpose is to examine trends in demographics and opinions over time as the county grows, matures, and inevitably changes. The three surveys together offer a unique opportunity for decision makers and academics to analyze the social, economic, and political evolution of a major metropolitan area. Other regions of the United States today must rely on the 1980 Census which, for geographic areas which are changing and growing, represents outdated information. One topic receives considerable attention this year. It is the political attitudes of Orange County residents. There is confusion about the current nature of Orange County. This is especially relevant in a year in which the presidential vote, the legislative elections, and residents responses to this year's state and county ballot initiatives were the focus of great attention. The sample size is 1,003 Orange County adult residents.

Online data analysis & additional documentation in Link below.


The sample for the 1984 Orange County Survey consists of 1,003 randomly selected residents who were interviewed by telephone. The sample is stratified geographically, with half of the sample selected from north of the Santa Ana River and half from the south. For data analyses, the sample is statistically weighted to represent the actual distribution of the Orange County population.

The sample in each area was chosen using a computer program which randomly generates telephone numbers from among working blocks of telephone exchanges. A working block is one that contains numbers in use. The total of telephone numbers generated within an exchange was in proportion to the number of residential phones represented by that exchange in the northern part of the county or the southern part of the county. Using this procedure, approximately 2,200 telephone numbers from the south and approximately 2,2,00 telephone numbers from the north were drawn. This procedure of random digit dialing ensures that unlisted as well as listed numbers are included in the sample, Also, since over 95 percent of the households in Orange County have telephones, random dialing yields a sample representative of the population of Orange County.

The Troldahl-Carter Method was used in randomly selecting which adult member of the household was to be interviewed. This method consists of enumerating the total number of adults in the household and the total number of men in the household. Then, using a prearranged grid, the interviewer selects the individual in the household for interviewing.

As further evidence of the representativeness of the sample chosen by the above methods, characteristics of the sample were compared to characteristics of the total Orange County population using the 1980 census. On the basis of age, income, sex, marital status, household size, and home ownership, the sample is representative of the population of Orange County. Characteristics of the 1982 and 1983 Orange County Survey samples were also contrasted with the characteristics of the 1984 Orange County Survey sample. Marital status, ethnicity, age, sex, and education were closely comparable in the three surveys.The sampling error for this survey is plus or minus three percentage points. This means that if this survey were to be repeated 100 times, in 95 out the 100 times the answers obtained for a particular question would match those we obtained in this survey within three points. The sampling error for any particular sub-group would be greater. These calculations assume that the data were collected under ideal circumstances. Since there are a� large number of practical problems in conducting social surveys, the actual sampling error for any particular result might be slightly higher.

As noted above, the interviewing for the Orange County Survey was done by telephone. Cost considerations and methodological improvements have led to telephone surveys' increased adoption in the social sciences. In addition, several studies show similar quality in telephone and face-to-face interviews. Interviewers were closely supervised during the data collection. Interviewers participated in a two-hour training session on the Orange County Survey instrument. Supervisors were available during the telephone interviewing to answer questions of interviewers or respondents. The telephone system used also allowed supervisors to monitor interviews to correct for errors in administering the questionnaire.

The interviewing was done between September 5th and September 22nd, 1984. On weekdays, interviewing occurred between the hours of 5:30 and 10:00 p.m., and on Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. For each number in the sample, at least four call back attempts were made. The resulting sample of 1,003 represents 25 percent of the numbers dialed (4,021 in all). For 13 percent, a refusal to cooperate was received. The majority of calls not completed (56%) was due either to nonworking residential phone numbers or to o answers, which may indicate nonresidential phone numbers. The refusal rate for the survey was 34 percent, that is, 25 percent completions plus 13 percent refusals divided into 13 percent. This is consistent with the general refusal rate in surveys, which varies between 25 percent and 40 percent.

The Orange County Survey, as shown in Appendix D, includes 86 questions. There were also a few open-ended questions. Individuals were asked to name their residential zip code. In addition, there is a question on the respondent's occupation. Categories for coding were developed prior to interviewing, and reliability tests indicated that the coding of open-ended questions was conducted accurately.


University of California, Irvine,



Orange County (Calif.)