General Social Survey 2012 Cross-Section and Panel Combined

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > General Population > National > General Social Surveys > Summary


The General Social Surveys (GSS) have been conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) annually since 1972, except for the years 1979, 1981, and 1992 (a supplement was added in 1992), and biennially beginning in 1994. The GSS are designed to be part of a program of social indicator research, replicating questionnaire items and wording in order to facilitate time-trend studies. This data file has all cases and variables asked on the 2012 GSS. There are a total of 4,820 cases in the data set but their initial sampling years vary because the GSS now contains panel cases. Sampling years can be identified with the variable SAMPTYPE.

The 2012 GSS featured special modules on religious scriptures, the environment, dance and theater performances, health care system, government involvement, health concerns, emotional health, financial independence and income inequality.

The GSS has switched from a repeating, cross-section design to a combined repeating cross-section and panel-component design. This file has a rolling panel design, with the 2008 GSS as the base year for the first panel. A sub-sample of 2,000 GSS cases from 2008 was selected for reinterview in 2010 and again in 2012 as part of the GSSs in those years. The 2010 GSS consisted of a new cross-section plus the reinterviews from 2008. The 2012 GSS consists of a new cross-section of 1,974, the first reinterview wave of the 2010 panel cases with 1,551 completed cases, and the second and final reinterview of the 2008 panel with 1,295 completed cases. Altogether, the 2012 GSS had 4,820 cases (1,974 in the new 2012 panel, 1,551 in the 2010 panel, and 1,295 in the 2008 panel).

Data File
Cases: 4,820
Variables: 1,055
Weight Variable: WTCOMB, WTCOMBNR
WTCOMB: weight for both cross-section and the panel cases combined, adjusted to the 2012 sampling
WTCOMBNR: weight for both cross-section and the panel cases combined, accounting for non-respondents
Data Collection
Date Collected: 2012
Funded By
National Science Foundation
Collection Procedures
In-person interview of approximately 90 minutes
Sampling Procedures
NORC has introduced an innovative approach to demographic sampling frame construction and sample design for NORC's program of face-to-face surveys from 2004 onward. The important changes from previous GSS designs are: (i) the construction of a new list-assisted sampling frame for 72 percent of the population; (ii) an increase in the size of the certainty stratum (the proportion of the population covered by certainty area selections); (iii) designation of new primary sampling units (PSUs) for the certainty stratum; (iv) designation of new secondary sampling units (SSUs) for the remaining "urban" areas; and (v) designation of larger SSUs for the remaining areas.
Principal Investigators
Tom W. Smith
Note 1: Occupation and Industry Codes
The following links provide a detailed description of the occupation and industry codes utilized in the 2012 GSS dataset:

Appendix F. Go to page 19 for the 2010 Census occupational categories used in the 2012 GSS.

Appendix H Go to page 12 for the 2007 NAICS/Census industrial categories used in the 2012 GSS.