About GSS

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About GSS

The General Social Survey (GSS) is one of NORC’s flagship surveys and our longest running project. The GSS started in 1972 and completed its 28th round in 2010. For the last third of a century the GSS has been monitoring social change and the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is the largest project funded by the Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation. Except for the U.S. Census, the GSS is the most frequently analyzed source of information in the social sciences. 


The GSS contains a standard ‘core’ of demographic and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have been unchanged since 1972 to facilitate time trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings. The GSS takes the pulse of America, and is a unique and valuable resource. It is the only survey that has tracked the opinions of Americans over an extended period of time.  The GSS is also a major teaching tool. We know of over 14,000 research uses such as articles in academic journals, books, and Ph.D. dissertations based on the GSS and about 250,000 students annually who use it in their classes.

The National Data Program for the Sciences  NORC