Tom W. Smith

Tom W. Smith Senior Fellow and Director

Center for the Study of Politics and Society
Ogburn-Stouffer Center for the Study of Social Organizations

Ph.D., American History, University of Chicago
M.A., History, Pennsylvania State University
B.A., History, Political Science, Pennsylvania State University

Senior Fellow Tom Smith directs NORC's Center for the Study of Politics and Society. Since 1980, he has served as Director of the General Social Survey (GSS), one of NORC's most visible projects and one of the nation's most heavily utilized datasets. He is also co-founder of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), former Secretary General of the ISSP, and currently serving on the ISSP Standing and Methodology Committees.

He is frequently consulted and quoted by the news media on such diverse topics as American sexual behavior, intergroup relations, confidence in institutions, happiness, religion, guns, and voter behavior.

Smith is a prolific writer, analyzing and publishing the results of his studies in peer-reviewed journals and NORC-published reports aimed at students, scholars, and policy makers. He serves as a referee for several peer-reviewed journals, including American Journal of Sociology, Health Affairs, and Demography, and he is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Public Opinion Research. Smith is editor-in-chief of Public Opinion Quarterly.

In addition to his extensive publication and public speaking record, Smith has been the recipient of the following awards: Worcester Prize, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 1994; AAPOR Innovators Award, 2000 and 2003; AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement, 2002; Eastern Sociological Society Award for Distinguished Contributions to Sociology, 2003; Demographic Diamond Designate, American Demographics, 2003; American Sociological Association Travel Award for World Congress of Sociology, 2010; Best Publication by an International Scholar, American Sociological Association Section on Global and Transnational Sociology, 2010; the Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences, ICPSR/The University of Michigan, 2011; and the AAPOR Book Award, 2013. 

Smith was appointed to serve on the Panel on the Review and Evaluation of the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation Content and Design of the National Academy of Sciences. In August 2014, Tom was elected to the Sociological Research Association (SRA), an honor society of leading sociological scholars.

Tom W. Smith is the first recipient of NORC at the University of Chicago’s Norman Bradburn Career Achievement Award. The award was established to recognize individuals who, through the course of working for NORC, have made a significant contribution to the field of social science research or methodology. For the past 35 years, Smith has been the director of the General Social Survey, one of NORC's most visible projects and one of the nation's most heavily utilized datasets. Smith also directs NORC's Center for the Study of Politics and Society.

Representative Projects

General Social Survey (GSS). Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is NORC’s longest running project, and one of its most influential.​​ More


News Reuters: Tom W. Smith talks about health and the workplace More
Posted: 11.30.2016 2:40PM
Press Release Rene Bautista of NORC at the University of Chicago Named Associate Editor of the Journal Public Opinion Quarterly More
Posted: 6.23.2016 1:12PM
News The New York Times: General Social Survey data gives perspective on racial attitudes in America More
Posted: 6.3.2016 8:30AM
Press Release Tom Smith, Director of the General Social Survey, Honored with Inaugural Norman Bradburn Career Achievement Award More
Posted: 11.6.2015 7:24AM
News The Huffington Post: Looking at global views on homosexuality with research from NORC Senior Fellow Tom W. Smith More
Posted: 11.20.2014 10:13AM


Tom W. Smith

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