Results of the 2018 General Social Survey Now Available to the Public

CHICAGO, March 19, 2019 — Data from the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS) are now live at The GSS is a biennial, nationally representative survey that has been conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago since 1972 to monitor societal change and study the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is funded in large part by the National Science Foundation.

Throughout its history, the GSS has been an objective, scientific, and non-partisan resource for decision-makers, journalists, researchers, business leaders, and many others. It is the longest-running national longitudinal survey tracking the views of the American people and where they stand on a vast array of critical issues. The GSS is second only to the U.S. Census as the most cited social science dataset in the country.

GSS questions cover a broad spectrum of topics such as:

​- crime and punishment
​- race relations
​- quality of life
​- generosity​- confidence in institutions
​- high-risk behaviors
​- work values
​- human values
​- national spending priorities
​- workplace conflict
​- volunteering​- religious identity
​- the environment
​- transition to adulthood
​- religious literature
​- participation in the arts
- ​racial identity

“We are excited to announce some new additions to the 2018 GSS. These include questions on two cross-national studies we are conducting with our global partners as part of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP),” said Tom Smith, senior fellow and director of the GSS. “The first addition is the fourth round of the ISSP study of religion around the world. The second is a new cross-national study on social networks and social resources. Both will be conducted in about 40-50 countries.”

The GSS results can be viewed at the GSS homepage and in the GSS Data Explorer. Some of the trends the GSS has captured can be examined using the Key Trends feature, which allows users to compare key trends and responses on a wide array of issues and to see how the public’s views have evolved over time. The results can be seen for the entire population or for subsets such as race, age, political affiliation, and more. In all, more than 30,000 different trend lines are available. Trends covered include Americans’ views on civil liberties, politics, quality of working life, religion, and many others.

“Other special topics addressed in the 2018 data include mental health stigma, the quality of working life, attitudes regarding abortions, self-assessments of physical and psychological health, and the role of the natural environment in people’s lives,” said René Bautista, senior research scientist in the Statistics and Methodology department at NORC and co-director of the GSS.

The GSS by the Numbers:

  • The GSS has a vast overall scope, with the 1972-2018 GSS including:
  • - 1,016 variables collected each year, on average
    - 6,108 total variables
    - Time-trends for 2,479 variables
    - 363 trends having 20+ data points

  • The GSS is a major teaching tool in colleges and universities:
  • - More than 31,000 journal and conference articles, books, and PhD dissertations are based on the GSS.
    - About 400,000 students use the GSS in their classes each year.

  • There is no other survey, dataset, study, poll, or even series of polls that has tracked the will of the American people for as long, as thoroughly, or as consistently as the GSS.

  • While the GSS has been tracking Americans’ views on critical issues since 1972, the survey has grown and adapted to the changing country. For instance, the 2018 GSS includes new measures of how people interact with the natural environment and pets, public attitudes toward people with mental health problems, people’s physical health, and their religious life.


About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell)


Data from the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS) are now available.

Get the dataextlink