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The German General Social Survey (GGSS/ALLBUS - Die Allgemeine Bevölkerungsumfrage der Sozialwissenschaften) is a national data generation program in Germany, which is similar to the American General Social Survey (GSS). Its mission is to collect and disseminate high quality statistical surveys on attitudes, behavior, and social structure in Germany. Standardly, the representative cross-sectional studies are conducted biennially since 1980. A large part of the items included consists of replication

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s, while others are specifically varied according to particular topics.

With the foundation of the "German Social Sciences Infrastructure Services" (Gesellschaft sozialwissenschaftlicher Infrastruktureinrichtungen (GESIS)) in 1986, ALLBUS has been included into the state-federal funding of the institutes united within GESIS and institutionalized as a joint-venture of the Centre for Survey Research and Methodology (ZUMA - Zentrum für Umfragen, Methoden und Analysen, Mannheim) and the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research (ZA - Zentralarchiv für Empirische Sozialforschung, Cologne).

The cumulative ALLBUS / GGSS 1980-2004 (English version available) comprises opinion poll data from all of the 14 currently existing ALLBUS / GGSS surveys, with a total of 44,526 respondents. It comprises all items that have been surveyed at least two times within the regular ALLBUS / GGSS program (replications). Until 1990, the individual surveys were conducted using a random sample of ca. 3000 German citizens from the old Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin who were residing in private households and were at least 18 years old at the time of the interview. As of 1991, the universe sampled has been extended to cover the former East Germany, and the foreign residents have been included into the samples.


  • Assessments of economic situations
  • Political attitudes and political participation
  • Attitudes relating to the process of German unification
  • Attitudes towards social inequality and the welfare state
  • Confidence in public institutions and organizations
  • Pride in being a German
  • Attitudes towards migrants and minorities
  • Attachment to various political regions
  • Family and child raising
  • Attitudes towards abortion
  • Questions on health
  • Importance of life aspects and job characteristics
  • Free time activities
  • Use of media
  • Religiousness, cosmology and church attachment
  • Environmental concerns and pollution
  • Attitudes towards administration
  • Anomia and fear of crime
  • Deviant behavior and sanctioning
  • ALLBUS-Demography (demographics)
  • Details about the interview and the interviewer
  • Weights and indices

Since several years the German national survey program ALLBUS is conducted in combination with the German part of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). As in GSS both national surveys can be analysed in a common data set.

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Besides, there is another major German data generation program for the collection of panel data called the GSOEP or SOEP (The German Socio-Economic Panel). This is similar to the American Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID).


James Allen Davis, Peter Ph. Mohler and Tom W. Smith: Nationwide General Social Surveys. In: Ingwer Borg and Peter Ph. Mohler (ed.): Trends and Perspectives in Empirical Social Research. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin und New York 1994: 17-25. ISBN 3-11-014311-9

Michael Terwey: ALLBUS: A German General Social Survey. In: Schmollers Jahrbuch. Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- un Sozalwissenschaften. Journal of Applied Social Science Studies. Nr. 120, 2000: 151-158. ISSN 0342-1783

Richard Alba, Peter Schmidt und Martina Wasmer (eds.): Germans or Foreigners? Attitudes Towards Ethnic Minorities in Post-Reunification Germany. Palgrave Macmillan, New York and Houndmills 2003. ISBN 1-4039-6378-9

Tom W. Smith, Jibum Kim, Achim Koch und Alison Park: Social-Science Research and the General Social Surveys. In: ZUMA-Nachrichten. Nr. 56, 2005: 68-77. ISSN 0941-1670

ZA (Zentralarchiv für Empirische Sozialforschung) and ZUMA (Zentrum für Umfragen, Methoden und Analysen): German General Social Survey. ALLBUS / GGSS Cumulation 1980 - 2004 (ZA-Study-No 4243), Electronic Codebook, integrated Data File, and Survey Description, Cologne: GESIS.

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