General Social Survey
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2010)|
The General Social Survey (GSS) is a sociological survey used to collect data on demographic characteristics and attitudes of residents of the United States. The survey is conducted face-to-face with an in-person interview by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, of a randomly selected sample of adults (18+) who are not institutionalized. The survey was conducted every year from 1972 to 1994 (except in 1979, 1981, and 1992). Since 1994, it has been conducted every other year. The survey takes about 90 minutes to administer. As of 2010 28 national samples with 55,087 respondents and 5,417 variables had been collected. The data collected about this survey includes both demographic information and respondent's opinions on matters ranging from government spending to the state of race relations to the existence and nature of God. Because of the wide range of topics covered, and the comprehensive gathering of demographic information, survey results allow social scientists to correlate demographic factors like age, race, gender, and urban/rural upbringing with beliefs, and thereby determine whether, for example, an average middle-aged black male respondent would be more or less likely to move to a different U.S. state for economic reasons than a similarly situated white female respondent; or whether a highly educated person with a rural upbringing is more likely to believe in a transcendent God than a person with an urban upbringing and only a high-school education.
GSS results are freely made available to interested parties over the internet, and are widely used in sociological research. The data are generally available in formats designed for statistical programs (e.g., R/SAS/SPSS/Stata).
The GSS was recently linked to the National Death Index. This freely available dataset allows researchers to explore the association between variables in the General Social Survey and human longevity. For instance, it is possible to explore the association between happiness and life expectancy. The dataset and codebook are available for download by the public.
- The GSS Website allows users to search GSS information, test hypotheses, and look for interesting correlations
- SDA - GSS 1972-2010 Cumulative Datafile - Tool from Berkeley for querying GSS data
- Biomedcentral.com - Information about the GSS-NDI dataset
- step-by-step how to analyze the General Social Survey with free tools website