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General Social Survey, 1972-2010 [Cumulative File] (ICPSR 31521)

Principal Investigator(s):


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 2010, includes a cumulative file that merges all 28 General Social Surveys into a single file containing data from 1972 to 2010. 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 2010 surveys included four topic modules: quality of working life, science, shared capitalism, and CDC high risk behaviors. The International Social Survey Program (ISSP) module included in the 2010 survey was environment. The data also contain several variables describing the demographic characteristics of the respondents.

Series: General Social Survey Series

Access Notes

  • These data are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Because you are not logged in, we cannot verify that you will be able to download these data.


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General Social Survey, 1972-2010 [Cumulative File] - Download All Files (1,962.4 MB) large dataset

Study Description


Smith, Tom W., Peter V. Marsden, and Michael Hout. General Social Survey, 1972-2010 [Cumulative File]. ICPSR31521-v1. Storrs, CT: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 2011-08-05. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

Persistent URL:

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This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   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

Smallest Geographic Unit:   census region

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1972--2010

Date of Collection:  

  • 1972--1978
  • 1980
  • 1982--1991
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2000
  • 2002
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2010

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   All noninstitutionalized, English and Spanish speaking persons 18 years of age or older, living in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Additional information regarding the General Social Surveys can be found at the General Social Survey (GSS) Web site and the Roper Center Web site.


Sample:   For sampling information, please see Appendix A of the ICPSR Codebook.

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

Mode of Data Collection:   computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), face-to-face interview, telephone interview

Response Rates:   Approximately 70 percent.

Extent of Processing:  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.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2013-02-07 Documentation was updated.

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