General Social Survey
|Technical Specifications||Order GSS on CD-ROM|
|Special Topic Modules||Errata 1972-2012|
GSS 1972-2012 Cumulative Data File via RoperExpress
The 1972-2012 GSS cumulative data file for the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Surveys (GSS) is 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:
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 2,044 cases, the first reinterviews of the 2008 GSS respondents, and the second and final reinterviews of the 2006 GSS respondents. This three-wave, rolling panel design was also used in 2012. 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 29th time in 2012. 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 57,061 respondents and 5,548 variables. The 2012 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 40 years.
Contents of the GSS CD-ROM
GSS 1972-2012 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
GSS Data Processing
The data from the interviews were processed according to standard NORC procedures.
This cumulative data set merges all 29 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 1972-2012 Special Topical Modules
GSS 1972-2012 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 1972-2012 project. Codebook contains exact question text, response codes and frequency counts for 5,548 variables used by the National Opinion Research Center during the past 40 years. While the codebook is intended to be used in conjunction with the General Social Survey 1972-2012 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 1972-2012 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 2012 dataset and codebook are available for immediate download via RoperExpress.
Order the 1972-2012 GSS on CD-ROM
The GSS 1972-2012 on CD-ROM (includes data & electronic codebook in PDF) is available at the following rates: