General Social Survey, 1972-2014 [Cumulative File] (ICPSR 36319)

Version Date: Mar 14, 2016 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


Version V2

Slide tabs to view more

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.

Smith, Tom W., Hout, Michael, and Marsden, Peter V. General Social Survey, 1972-2014 [Cumulative File]. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], National Opinion Research Center [distributor], 2016-03-14.

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote
National Science Foundation
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

census region

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, National Opinion Research Center

1972 -- 2014
1972 -- 1978, 1980, 1982 -- 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014
  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) website.

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

Longitudinal: Trend / Repeated Cross-section

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, 1972-2014 [Cumulative File]. ICPSR36319-v2. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 2016-03-14.

2016-03-14 The collection documentation and online data analysis (SDA) have been updated with question text.

2016-02-05 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.

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