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Website Maintained by Charles Cappell and Pawn Chevuri.
Early contributions by Liz Burlein.

What is the Chicago Collar County Project?
The C3 Project is a research inquiry into the sociological characteristics of the suburbs surrounding Chicago. Northern Illinois Univeristy, as a regional univeristy in this area, has as part of its mission a goal to conduct research and serve this area. The C3 project was developed by Prof. Charles Cappell, with support from the Social Science Research Instititute, the Graduate School, and the Department of Sociology to integrate teaching and research using this community as "field laboratory". The Collar Counties consist of Suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties. For some purposes, the Collar is extended to 11 counties to include Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kendall, and Winnebago counties. The project's objectives are to collect and analyze information about this area and its residents.

Why is the Chicago Collar County project important?

According to the 2000 census, suburbs contain more people than urban cities or rural areas. In Illinois, a large population, more affluent and politically consequential, is concentrated in the Collar Counties. Yet sociologists know that suburban life is quite different from the lifestyles of 50, or even 25, years ago. From a teaching perspective, having students studying information about the C3 area is a practical and interesting introduction to social science research. Results produced by the C3 project should be of interest to residents, community leaders, suburban planning agencies, news media, and scholars. The questionnaires are developed to be consistent with concerns of previous political and community studies as well as addressing new concerns. A few of the sources reviewed in the course of this project are listed in the selected bibliography.

What topics are addressed by the project?
Past surveys (5 as of 2004) have focused on several dimensions of the overall quality of community life, 1) residents' evaluations of the performance of their local governments; 2) their experiences with crime and attitudes about neighborhood safety; 3) their experiences at work; 4) the quality of their family life 5) the quality of their community life; 6) and their individual well-being.
Community census analysis portrays the changing demographic characteristics of the Chicago Collar County communities and includes additional information such as crime statistics and educational information.

Who is involved in the study?
Prof. Charles Cappell directs the project as part of his department research activities. Whenever possible, students enrolled in a Survey Research course participate, creating a unique opportunity for advanced undergraduates and graduate students to conduct original survey research on relevant, local sociological topics. The results from these project activities are used in Sociology courses, so many undergraduate students obtain information about the communities where they live. The N.I.U. Public Opinion Laboratory contributes its resources and expertise to support the project. The Center for Governmental Studies provides some additional data intermittantly. Funding has come from the Graduate School and the Sociology Quantitative Research Laboratory.

What information is currently available?
The past five surveys are posted on this site. By linking to Survey Results, viewers can see the responses to all of the questions that have been asked in each of the surveys. Occasional reports offering more detailed analyses of particular topics are posted through the link to Reports. So far, a report on suburban stress and a report on multiculural attitudes are available. The links to Community Census Analysis contains substantive maps of key demographic information about Chicago Collar County communities.