General Social Survey, 1972-2012 [Cumulative File] (ICPSR 34802)

Version Date: Sep 11, 2013 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Tom W. Smith, National Opinion Research Center; Michael Hout, National Opinion Research Center; Peter V. Marsden, National Opinion Research Center


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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.

Smith, Tom W., Hout, Michael, and Marsden, Peter V. General Social Survey, 1972-2012 [Cumulative File]. Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut [distributor], Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-09-11.

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National Science Foundation
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   tobacco use   unemployment   welfare services   work   workplace violence

census region

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1972 -- 2012
1972 -- 1978, 1980, 1982 -- 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012
  1. 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.


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

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



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Smith, Tom W., Michael Hout, and Peter V. Marsden. General Social Survey, 1972-2012 [Cumulative File]. ICPSR34802-v1. Storrs, CT: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 2013-09-11.

2013-09-11 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.

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