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General Social Survey, 1972-2012 [Cumulative File]

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Smith, Tom W. (National Opinion Research Center)
  • Hout, Michael (National Opinion Research Center)
  • Marsden, Peter V. (National Opinion Research Center)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • General Social Survey Series
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
Free Keywords
abortion; Affirmative Action; agriculture; AIDS; alcohol; altruism; birth control; business; capital punishment; children; citizenship; civil rights; communism; community participation; compensation; computer use; corporations; courts; crime; democracy; dissent; divorce; drug use; economic issues; employment; environment; environmental attitudes; environmental protection; ethnicity; euthanasia; expenditures; families; foreign affairs; freedom; gender; gender issues; gender roles; government; health; housing; human rights; hunting; immigration; income; industry; Jews; labor unions; marijuana; marriage; media coverage; mental health; military draft; military service; national identity; occupations; parents; patients; physicians; police; politics; poverty; prejudice; privacy; race relations; racial attitudes; religion; school prayer; science; sexual behavior; sexual preference; smoking; social classes; social inequality; social mobility; social networks; Social Security; sports; suicide; taxes; technology; television; terminal illnesses; terrorism; unemployment; welfare services; work; workplace violence
  • Abstract

    The General Social Surveys (GSS) were designed as part of a data diffusion project in 1972. The GSS replicated questionnaire items and wording in order to facilitate time-trend studies. The latest survey, GSS 2012, includes a cumulative file that merges all 29 General Social Surveys into a single file containing data from 1972 to 2012. The items appearing in the surveys are one of three types: Permanent questions that occur on each survey, rotating questions that appear on two out of every three surveys (1973, 1974, and 1976, or 1973, 1975, and 1976), and a few occasional questions such as split ballot experiments that occur in a single survey. The 2012 surveys included seven topic modules: Jewish identity, generosity, workplace violence, science, skin tone, and modules for experimental and miscellaneous questions. The International Social Survey Program (ISSP) module included in the 2012 survey was gender. The data also contain several variables describing the demographic characteristics of the respondents.
  • Methods

    Due to the number of weights and various uses for them, users should refer to Appendix A of the ICPSR Codebook.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Created online analysis version with question text.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: General Social Survey, 1972-2012 [Cumulative File]
Temporal Coverage
  • 1972 / 2012
    Time period: 1972--2012
  • 1972 / 1978
    Collection date: 1972--1978
  • Collection date: 1980
  • 1982 / 1991
    Collection date: 1982--1991
  • Collection date: 1993
  • Collection date: 1994
  • Collection date: 1996
  • Collection date: 1998
  • Collection date: 2000
  • Collection date: 2002
  • Collection date: 2004
  • Collection date: 2006
  • Collection date: 2008
  • Collection date: 2010
  • Collection date: 2012
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
All noninstitutionalized, English and Spanish speaking persons 18 years of age or older, living in the United States. Smallest Geographic Unit: census region
For sampling information, please see Appendix A of the ICPSR Codebook.
Collection Mode
  • computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), face-to-face interview, telephone interview

    Please note that NORC may have updated the General Social Survey data files. Additional information regarding the General Social Surveys can be found at the General Social Survey (GSS) Web site and the Roper Center Web site.

This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 34802 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR34802.v1
  • Lansky, Amy, Finlayson, Teresa, Johnson, Christopher, Holtzman, Deborah, Wejnert, Cyprian, Mitsch, Andrew, Gust, Deborah, Chen, Robert, Mizuno, Yuko, Crepaz, Nicole. Estimating the number of persons who inject drugs in the United States by meta-analysis to calculate national rates of HIV and Hepatitis C virus infections. PLoS One.9, (5), e975962014.
    • ID: 10.1371/journal.pone.009759 (DOI)
  • Robinson, John P., Lee, Chang Won. Society’s (virtually) time-free transition into the digital age. Social Indicators Research.1-27.2013.
    • ID: 10.1007/s11205-013-0374-z (DOI)
  • Smith, Christopher D.. Generational Clarification and Replenishment Context: Implications for Mexican-American Fertility Incorporation. Dissertation , University of California, Irvine. 2013.
  • Monogan, Jamie. Immigration politics and partisan realignment. Twelfth Annual Conference on State Politics and Policy.Houston, TX. 2012.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Hanley, Caroline. Investigating the organizational sources of high-wage earnings growth and rising inequality. Social Science Research.40, (3), 902-916.2011.
    • ID: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.11.005 (DOI)
  • Robinson, John P.. Arts and leisure participation among IT users: Further evidence of time enhancement over time displacement. Social Science Computer Review.29, (4), 470-480.2011.
    • ID: 10.1177/0894439310385643 (DOI)
  • Kleck, Gary, Kovandzic, Tomislav. City-level characteristics and individual handgun ownership: Effects of collective security and homicide. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.25, (1), 45-66.2009.
    • ID: 10.1177/1043986208329085 (DOI)
  • Losh, Susan C.. Generation versus aging, and education, occupation, gender and ethnicity effects in U.S. digital divides. 2009 Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy.Atlanta, GA. 2009.
    • ID: 10.1109/ACSIP.2009.5367820 (DOI)
  • Robinson, John P., Martin, Steven. IT and activity displacement: Behavioral evidence from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS). Social Indicators Research.91, (2), 115-139.2009.
    • ID: 10.1007/s11205-008-9285-9 (DOI)
  • Griffin, Larry J.. Give me that old-time music . . . or not . Southern Cultures.12, (4), 98-107.2006.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-16

Smith, Tom W.; Hout, Michael; Marsden, Peter V. (2013): General Social Survey, 1972-2012 [Cumulative File]. Archival Version. General Social Survey Series. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.