Complete set of 186 SCCS cases available in eHRAF World Cultures

SCCS atlasThe Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) at Yale University is pleased to announce that eHRAF World Cultures now contains matching focal documents for all Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS) cases. The Standard Cross-Cultural Sample was created in 1969 by George Peter Murdock and Douglas R. White. The SCCS consists of 186 anthropologically described societies chosen by the sample’s creators to be representative of the world’s cultures. The sample, of largely nonindustrial societies, tried to minimize cultural relatedness, so only one society was chosen from a given culture area. In addition, each society was pinpointed in time and space. Researchers coding variables for this sample are expected to adhere to the specified time and place focus.

The eight SCCS cases listed below were added to eHRAF World Cultures in 2021, bringing the total number of cases to 186:

OWC Culture Name
FH26 Banen
MQ08 Fur
MR08 Nubians
NQ14 Hidatsa
NW10 Quiché Maya
RF10 Russians
MN06 Bilen
OH18 Tobelo

The table provided here shows “matches” between eHRAF and SCCS as assessed by HRAF. A “match” means the document in eHRAF is judged to have the same time and place focus for the same culture as the SCCS. Note that in contrast to the SCCS and many other cross-cultural samples, eHRAF usually contains more than one time and place focus to give researchers the opportunity to study change over time as well as cultural variation within the society (adapted from Ember 2007). For almost all the societies, you will also find other non-SCCS documents in the collection that cover other time periods and other places.

For more information about sampling eHRAF for cross-cultural research, please visit our homepage.


Ember, Carol R. 2007. “Using the HRAF Collection of Ethnography in Conjunction With the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample and the Ethnographic Atlas”. Cross-Cultural Research 41:  396-427.

Murdock, George Peter and Douglas R. White. 1969. “Standard Cross-Cultural Sample.” Ethnology. 9:329-369.