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General Social Survey, 1972-2014 [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
  • Version 2 (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; capitalism; children; citizenship; civic engagement; 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; family life; 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 identity; social inequality; social isolation; social mobility; social networks; Social Security; sports; suicide; taxes; technology; television; terminal illnesses; terrorism; unemployment; wealth; welfare services; work; workplace violence
  • Abstract

    Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society. The GSS aims to gather data on contemporary American society in order to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes; to examine the structure and functioning of society in general as well as the role played by relevant subgroups; to compare the United States to other societies in order to place American society in comparative perspective and develop cross-national models of human society; and to make high-quality data easily accessible to scholars, students, policy makers, and others, with minimal cost and waiting. GSS questions include such items as national spending priorities, marijuana use, crime and punishment, race relations, quality of life, and confidence in institutions. Since 1988, the GSS has also collected data on sexual behavior including number of sex partners, frequency of intercourse, extramarital relationships, and sex with prostitutes. The 2014 GSS has modules on quality of working life, shared capitalism, wealth, work and family balance, social identity, social isolation, and civic participation. In 1985 the GSS co-founded the International Social Survey Program (ISSP). The ISSP has conducted an annual cross-national survey each year since then and has involved 58 countries and interviewed over one million respondents. The ISSP asks an identical battery of questions in all countries; the U.S. version of these questions is incorporated into the GSS. The 2014 ISSP topics are National Identity and Citizenship. Demographic variables include age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, marital status, religion, employment status, income, household structure, and whether respondents were born in the United States.
  • Methods

    Due to the number of weights and the 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: Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: General Social Survey, 1972-2014 [Cumulative File]
Temporal Coverage
  • 1972 / 2014
    Time period: 1972--2014
  • 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
  • Collection date: 2014
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) website.

2016-03-14 The collection documentation and online data analysis (SDA) have been updated with question text. Funding insitution(s): National Science Foundation.
This study is freely available to ICPSR member institutions via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 36319 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR36319.v1
  • England, Paula. Sometimes the social becomes personal: Gender, class, and sexualities. American Sociological Review.81, (1), 4-28.2016.
    • ID: 10.1177/0003122415621900 (DOI)
  • Silver, Jasmine R., Pickett, Justin T.. Toward a better understanding of politicized policing attitudes: Conflicted conservatism and support for police use of force. Criminology.2015.
    • ID: 10.1111/1745-9125.12092 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2016-03-14 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2016-03-14

Smith, Tom W.; Hout, Michael; Marsden, Peter V. (2016): General Social Survey, 1972-2014 [Cumulative File]. Version 2. General Social Survey Series. Version: v2. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.