Crowd of people walking street

General Social Survey 2008-12

Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society.

General Social Survey 2008-12

In November 2023, it was announced that the ESS and GSS have entered into a formal agreement. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to advance survey research methodology and share best practices between social science researchers.

This four-year formal partnership aims to improve the survey methodology of both organisations, especially in the transition to collecting data using self-completion modes.

The agreement comes at a crucial moment in social research, where many large surveys are switching from face-to-face data collection to self-administered methodologies, making use of the advances in technology.

The GSS gathers data on contemporary American society in order to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviours, and attributes. Hundreds of trends have been tracked since 1972. In addition, since the GSS adopted questions from earlier surveys, trends can be followed for up to 80 years.

The GSS contains a standard core of demographic, behavioural, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. 

Among the topics covered are civil liberties, crime and violence, intergroup tolerance, morality, national spending priorities, psychological well-being, social mobility, and stress and traumatic events.

Between 2008 and 2012 GSS fielded the Schwartz Human Values scale included in the ESS and some items from the ESS rotating module on Personal and Social Well-Being.

Data along with documentation can be downloaded from the General Social Survey website.