European Social Survey (ESS)

The European Social Survey (the ESS) is an academically-driven social survey designed to chart and explain the interaction between Europe's changing institutions and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of its diverse populations. The survey has been carried out every two years since 2001, covers over 30 nations. 

The survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations in more than thirty nations. The main aims of the ESS are:

  • to chart stability and change in social structure, conditions and attitudes in Europe and to interpret how Europe’s social, political and moral fabric is changing
  • to achieve and spread higher standards of rigour in cross-national research in the social sciences, including for example, questionnaire design and pre-testing, sampling, data collection, reduction of bias and the reliability of questions
  • to introduce soundly-based indicators of national progress, based on citizens’ perceptions and judgements of key aspects of their societies
  • to undertake and facilitate the training of European social researchers in comparative quantitative measurement and analysis
  • to improve the visibility and outreach of data on social change among academics, policy makers and the wider public
Spatial Coverage: 
Time Period: 

2001 - Present


Documentation including methodology, questionnaire, fieldwork documentation, data documentation, codebook are available from the downloads section in Adobe PDF. Documentation is also available from ESS Data via Norwegian Social Sciences Data Services

Data Access: 

Freely available data on internet for academic purposes. Registration required.

Users can download from or conduct preliminary exploratory analysis through the website's Nesstar server.