General Social Survey
|Technical Specifications||Order GSS on CD-ROM|
|Special Topic Modules||Errata 1972-2010|
GSS 1972-2010 Cumulative Data File via RoperExpress
The 1972-2010 GSS cumulative data file for the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Surveys (GSS) is now available from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research via RoperExpress immediate download or on CD-ROM.
These data have been processed by The Roper Center and differ in several ways from the original version supplied by NORC. During the archival process, systematic changes have been made to the data files for completeness. These changes include additions and corrections to response labeling, and inclusion of “Don’t know” responses as valid. Additionally, since a number of variables differ and new variables have been added to the cumulative data file, the codebook frequencies should not be trusted as definitive response distributions.
In 2008 the GSS was in transition from a replicating cross-sectional design to a design that uses rotating panels. There were two components: a new 2008 cross-section with 2,023 cases and the first reinterviews with 1,536 respondents from the 2006 GSS. In 2010 the new design was fully implemented. There is a new cross-section of about 2,000 cases, the first reinterviews of the 2008 GSS respondents, and the second and final reinterviews of the 2006 GSS respondents. In 2012 and later years this design will be repeated. Each GSS will thus 1) start a new 4-year/3-wave panel, 2) be in the middle of a 4-year/3-wave panel, and 3) finish a still earlier 4-year/3-wave panel.
The National Data Program for the Social Sciences (General Social Survey) is both a data diffusion project and a program of social indicator research. Its data collection instrument, the General Social Survey (GSS), was fielded for the 28th time in 2010. Previously an annual survey, the GSS became biennial in 1994. The questionnaire contains a standard core of demographic and attitudinal variables, plus certain topics of special interest selected for rotation (called "topical modules"). Items that appeared on national surveys between 1973 and 1975 are replicated. The exact wording of these questions is retained to facilitate time trend studies as well as replications of earlier findings.
The newly released data file contains individual response coding for 55,087 respondents and 5,414 variables. The 2010 GSS follows the biennial, double sample design that was first adopted in 1994.
The Principal Investigators are James A. Davis, formerly Director of NORC and now a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago, Tom W. Smith, Senior Fellow and Director of the General Social Survey (GSS), NORC and Director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Society, and Peter V. Marsden, Research Associate, NORC and Department of Sociology, Harvard University.
The new survey has been added to the cumulative file, which now contains data spanning 38 years.
Contents of the GSS CD-ROM
GSS 1972-2010 Technical Specifications
GSS MethodologyThe General Social Surveys have been conducted during the first six months of each year. There are a total of 55,087 completed interviews:
The median length of the interview has been about one and a half hours.
GSS Sample Design
Each survey from 1972 to 2010 was an independently drawn sample of English-speaking persons 18 years of age or over, living in non-institutional arrangements within the United States. Starting in 2006 Spanish-speakers were added to the target population. Block quota sampling was used in 1972, 1973, and 1974 surveys and for half of the 1975 and 1976 surveys. Full probability sampling was employed in half of the 1975 and 1976 surveys and the 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982-1991, 1993-1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 surveys. Also, the 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 surveys had sub-sampled non-respondents (see Appendix A for a detailed description of the sample design).
GSS Data Processing
The data from the interviews were processed according to standard NORC procedures.
This cumulative data set merges all 28 surveys into a single file with each year or survey acting as a sub file. This greatly simplifies the use of the General Social Surveys for both trend analysis and pooling. In addition, this cumulative data set contains newly created variables (e.g. a poverty line code). Finally, the cumulative file contains certain items never before available.
GSS 1972-2010 Special Topical Modules
The International Social Survey Program (ISSP) modules are on social inequality and the environment. The social inequality module is the fourth administration of this topic having been previously fielded in 1987, 1992 and 1999. The environment module is the third administration having previously appeared in 1993-1994 and 2000.
GSS 1972-2010 Cumulative Codebook
by Tom W. Smith, Peter V. Marsden, Michael Hout, and Jibum Kim
GSS Codebook Description
Comprehensive information on all aspects of the General Social Surveys 1972-2010 project. Codebook contains exact question text, response codes and frequency counts for 5,414 variables used by the National Opinion Research Center during the past 38 years. While the codebook is intended to be used in conjunction with the General Social Survey 1972-2010 cumulative data file, the codebook alone holds a wealth of opinion data on a wide variety of social issues.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Abbreviations and Data Identification Numbers
Index to Data Set
Codes for the 1972-2010 Surveys -- Includes variable names, exact question text, response categories and codes, and unweighted marginal frequencies for questions in selected years.
General Social Survey Topical Modules
International Social Survey Program (ISSP) Modules
Other GSS Variables (including socio-demographic variables)
GSS RoperExpress Download
The GSS 2010 dataset and codebook are available for immediate download via RoperExpress.
Order the 1972-2010 GSS on CD-ROM
The GSS 1972-2010 on CD-ROM (includes data & electronic codebook in PDF) is available for $400.00 each.
Please contact the Roper Center at
860.486.4440 or email Data Services at DataServices-RoperCenter@uconn.edu.