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European Social Survey , ESS

    For details on all aspects of this database, see ESS

1. General description

    The European Social Survey (ESS) is a cross-national survey that has been conducted every two years across Europe since 2002. The survey measures attitudes, beliefs and behaviour of European citizens in more than thirty nations. At the same time, the ESS provides data in order to improve the methods of cross-national survey measurement in Europe and beyond.

2. Survey type

  • Cross-national
  • Longitudinal with waves in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
  • Random probability sampling, ≥ 15 years of age
  • For detailed information on sampling, see ESS Sampling
  • Questionnaire consists of a core module / rotating module / supplementary section
  • For detailed information on questionnaire(s) see: ESS Questionnaire

3. Participating countries

  • 22 to 36 European countries, depending on wave
  • For detailed information on the participating countries per wave, see ESS Countries by Round

4. Topics

a. Socio-demographics

  • Respondent: age, sex, marital status, education, work status, work, number of children, national region, nationality
  • Partner: age, sex, education, work status, work
  • Parents: education, work, nationality (from the 2006 wave onward)
  • Children:
  • Household: household composition, sex of household members, age of household members, household income, individual income

b. General

    Media use, social trust, political trust and interest, socio-political evaluations and orientations, immigration, subjective well-being, social support, fear of crime, governance attitudes, justice and permissiveness, social exclusion, religion and religiosity, perceived discrimination, national and ethnic identity, work, family values, household

c. Regarding work and welfare

    Quality of education, quality of health services, government responsibilities, state of health, work autonomy of respondent and partner, income, making ends meet, family values, work conditions, job satisfaction, work flexibility, work and family  
  • Modules 2002 wave: job effects of immigration, economic effects of immigration, welfare dependency of immigrants, ethnic prejudice, ethnic tolerance, work ethic, work flexibility, work autonomy, job satisfaction, influence in and of trade unions
  • Modules 2004 wave: personal health, health care, tax fraud, benefits, benefits fraud, family values, child care, work conditions, required job skills, job satisfaction, work autonomy, work flexibility, work-life balance, job characteristics, job security, education
  • Modules 2006 wave: job history, work retirement age, subjective well-being, personal health, work satisfaction
  • Modules 2008 wave: income inequality, estimation of number of unemployed, disabled, and poor people, estimation of standard of living and opportunities for different kind of groups, responsibility of government regarding welfare provision, effects of social benefits and services, deservingness, contribution of different age groups to economy
  • Modules 2010 wave: impact of the recession on households and work, job security, housework, wellbeing, experiences of unemployment, work-life balance, confidence in and cooperation with the police and courts, contact with the police and attitudes towards punishment
  • Modules 2012 wave: life satisfaction, physical activity, personal and social well-being, helping others, understandings and evaluation of different elements of democracy
  • Modules 2014 wave: attitudes towards immigrants, attitudes towards integration policy, contact with migrants, personal health, social determinants of health
  • Modules 2016 wave: attitudes towards welfare provision, size of claimant groups, attitutes towards service delivery and likely future dependence on welfare, vote intention in EU referendum, attitudes towards climate change and energy

5. Questionnaires available

    Yes, questionnaires for all eight waves downloadable in PDF format [direct link]
  • Wave 1: 2002
  • Wave 2: 2004
  • Wave 3: 2006
  • Wave 4: 2008
  • Wave 5: 2010
  • Wave 6: 2012
  • Wave 7: 2014
  • Wave 8: 2016

6. Keyword search in questionnaires


7. Data available

  • All waves downloadable, per country or pooled, in SAS, SPSS or Stata format:
  • ESS 1
  • ESS 2
  • ESS 3
  • ESS 4
  • ESS 5
  • ESS 6
  • ESS 7 
  • ESS 8
  • Registration required, free of charge
  • Cumulative Data Wizard to customize a personal data file: ESS Cumulative Data
  • Registration required, free of charge
  • Not yet available for the 8th wave
  • Multilevel Data to combine 6 levels of data in your download: ESS Multilevel Data 
  • Registration required, free of charge 

8. Online data analysis

    For online data analysis, see NSD
  • No registration, free of charge