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Ethnic Collective Action in Contemporary Urban U.S. - Data on Conflicts and Protests

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This project seeks to identify sources of ethnic and racial conflict and protest in urban America from 1954 through 1992. The data on collective events are coded using the New York Times. Detailed coding rules produced a chronological data set that allows researchers to:

  1. Analyze the location and timing of both conflicts (confrontations between two or more ethnic populations) and protests (marches, mass meetings, demonstrations on behalf of one ethnic group, expressing grievances related to discrimination or racial policy).
  2. Specifically analyze a type of protest (e.g., Civil Rights Movement activity, or urban race riots) and the potential dynamic relationship of different types of protests and conflicts.
  3. Identify any ethnic, nationality, or racial characteristics of participants who were the targets and/or instigators of each protest and conflict.
  4. Analyze information on each event’s location, size, targets, police presence, arrests, damage or injuries, and the content of claims directed against government authorizes, police, and other groups are included in these data.

Principal Investigator: 

Susan Olzak

Funding Agency: 

National Science Foundation, Sociology Program (SES-9196229)

How to Cite this Dataset: 

Olzak, Susan, and Elizabeth West. 1995. Ethnic Collective Action in Contemporary Urban U.S. from 1954 to 1992. Stanford, CA: Department of Sociology, Stanford University

Contact Email: 


This dataset is freely available to users who register with SSDS/Stanford Libraries.


I acknowledge core funding support from the U.S. National Science Foundation's Sociology Program (SES-9196229).



The universe of this study encompasses all ethnic and racial protest and conflict events taking place between 1954-1992 within urban areas in the United States, as reported daily in the New York Times.

Unit of Analysis: 

Individual ethnic and racial protest and conflict events

Type of data collection: 

Event data

Time span: 

The range of years for the events making up the dataset is 1954-1992

Time of data collection: 

The data were collected between 1991 to 1995

Geographic coverage: 

Urban areas in the United States

Smallest geographic unit: 

This dataset does not have geographic units of analysis, but all events took place in Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSA), in the United States

Sample description: 

Data were collected from the New York Times Index and daily microfilms. See the Project Description and Coding Manual for full information on how possible events were located using the New York Times Index (link provided below under "Web Site or Document Download Link(s)").


Data Use Agreement

  1. The data I download from the Data Archive will not be used to identify individuals.
  2. I will not charge a fee for the data if I distribute it to others.
  3. I will inform the contact person for each dataset about work I do using their dataset. 
    (This helps us keep an accurate bibliography. See each data page for its contact email.)
  4. I will cite the data appropriately.
    (See each data page for its bibliographic citation.)

Data Download Links

Data Notes

(10/29/2015): full_riot datafile renamed to Ethnic_Collect_Action.
(10/29/2015): race_riot.dta file added. The race_riot data is a subset of events that were judged by researcher to be a race riot. These riots can also be recovered by selecting code=7 for the variable "evnform" on the Ethnic_Collect_Action dataset.