The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted across Europe since its establishment in 2001. Every two years, face-to-face interviews are conducted with newly selected, cross-sectional samples. The survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations in more than 30 nations.
So far, six rounds of ESS have been conducted.
The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically-driven multi-country survey, which has been administered in over 30 countries to date. Its three aims are, firstly - to monitor and interpret changing public attitudes and values within Europe and to investigate how they interact with Europe's changing institutions, secondly - to advance and consolidate improved methods of cross-national survey measurement in Europe and beyond, and thirdly - to develop a series of European social indicators, including attitudinal indicators.
In the sixth round, the survey covers 29 countries and employs the most rigorous methodologies. It is funded via the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme, the European Science Foundation and national funding bodies in each country.
The survey involves strict random probability sampling, a minimum target response rate of 70% and rigorous translation protocols. The hour-long face-to-face interview includes questions on a variety of core topics repeated from previous rounds of the survey and also two modules developed for Round Six covering Europeans' Understandings and Evaluations of Democracy and Personal and Social Wellbeing (the latter is a partial repeat of a module from round 3).
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
- v03: Edited, anonymous dataset, third version, data available from external repository.
ESS6 edition 2.3 (published 01 December 2018)
Updated documents and datasets were uploaded that reflect the changes in version 2.4 available on the European Social Survey site <http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/data/download.html?r=6>
The data is available to users without restrictions, for not-for-profit purposes. In accordance with data protection regulations in participating countries, only anonymous data is available.
Complete list of edits made to the 2.4 edition published by the European Social Survey can be found here (https://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/data/ESS6_version_notes.html). These edits are reflected in the DDI. Updated datasets, reports, technical documents, and questionnaires can be found in the 'Documentation' tab.
The scope of the study includes:
- social trust
- political interest and participation
- socio-political orientations
- social exclusion
- national, ethnic and religious allegiances
- climate change, energy security and energy preferences
- human values
- demographics and socioeconomics
1) European Union countries - Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
2) Non-European Union countries: Albania, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Norway, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Ukraine.
All persons aged 15 and over, resident within private households, regardless of their nationality, citizenship, language or legal status, in participating countries.
Producers and sponsors
ESS European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC)
Czech Republic - Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports
Denmark - The Danish Council for Independent Research | Social Sciences
Estonia - University of Tartu
Estonia - Ministry of Science and Education
Finland - Academy of Finland
France - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Très grande infrastructure PROGEDO
Germany - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation)
Hungary - Hungarian Scientific Research Fund
Iceland - The Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís)
Ireland - Irish Research Council
Israel - The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Italy - Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research (MURST), PRIN Program 2011-12
Lithuania - Research Council of Lithuania
Netherlands - Netherlands National Science Foundation NWO
Norway - The Research Council of Norway
Poland - The National Science Centre
Portugal - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Russian Federation - Russian Humanitarian Scientic Fund (RGNF) Highest School of Economics (HSE)
Slovakia - Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic
Slovenia - Slovenian Research Agency
Spain - Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) & Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS)
Sweden - Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)
Switzerland - SNFS (Swiss National Science Foundation)
Ukraine - National Academy of Science of Ukraine
United Kingdom - ESRC
Sampling procedure varied by country. Please see the "Documentation Report" available in the 'Documentation' section for detailed information on how sampling was conducted in each of the 29 countries.
Response rate varied by country. Please see the "Documentation Report" available in the 'Documentation' section for detailed information on the response rate in each of the 29 countries.
There are three methods of weighting that were used in the study. A summary is provided below.
- Design Weights: Individuals in the population aged 15+ have precisely the same chance of selection. Several countries use complex sampling designs where some groups or regions of the population have higher probabilities of selection. The main purpose of the design weights is to correct for the fact that in some countries respondents have different probabilities to be part of the sample due to the sampling design used. Applying the weights allows to correct for this and obtain estimates that are not affected by a possible sample selection bias. The design weights are computed as the inverse of the inclusion probabilities and then scaled such that their sum equals the net sample size.
- Post-stratification Weights: Design weights account for differences in inclusion probabilities and thus correct for bias that is introduced by the sampling design. However, other errors sources remain, including sampling error (related to attempting to measure only a fraction of the population) and non-response error (which may lead to a systematic overor under-representation of people with certain characteristics). Post-stratification weights are a more sophisticated weighting strategy that uses auxiliary information to reduce the sampling error and potential non-response bias. They have been constructed using information on age-group, gender, education, and region. The post-stratification weights are obtained by adjusting the design weights in such a way that they will replicate the distribution of the cross classification of age-group, gender, and education in the population and the marginal distribution for region in the population.
- Population Size Weights: Population size weights are used when examining data for two or more countries combined. The population size weights are the same for all persons within a country but differ across countries. These weights correct for the fact that most countries taking part in the ESS have different population sizes but similar sample sizes. Without this weight, any figures combining data from two or more countries might be biased, over-representing smaller countries at the expense of larger ones. The population size weight makes an adjustment to ensure that each country is represented in proportion to its population size
A more detailed explanation of each type of weight and recommendations on how they should be utilized in analysis are provided in the "Weighting European Social Survey Data" document that can be found in the 'Documentation' tab.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
Data Collection Notes
In the ESS, data have to be collected via face-to-face interviews (preferably CAPI) in all participating countries. In each country, the national funding agency appoints a National Coordinator and a survey organisation to implement the survey according to common ESS specifications. Please see: http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/methodology/ess_methodology/data_collection.html for a more detailed explanation of the standards on data collection utilized by the ESS.
The core scientific team responsible for ESS implementation consisted of:
Roger Jowell (former PI), Rory Fitzgerald (current PI), Eric Harrison, Lorna Ryan, Ana Villar, Sarah Butt, Sally Widdop, Lizzy Gatrell, Yvette Prestage, Mary Keane and Peter Martin: Centre for Comparative Social Surveys (CCSS), City University London, UK. Geert Loosveldt, Jaak Billiet and Hideko Matsuo: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Bjørn Henrichsen, Knut Kalgraff Skjåk, and Kirstine Kolsrud: NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data, Norway. Angelika Scheuer, Sabine Häder, Achim Koch, Matthias Ganninger, Verena Halbherr, Brita Dorer and Stefan Zins: GESIS, Germany. Willem Saris, Wiebke Weber, Diana Zavala Rojas and Bruno Arpino: Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain. Ineke Stoop, Joost Kappelhof and Henk Fernee: The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), Netherlands. Brina Malnar: University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The dates for data collection in each of the countries were the following:
Field work period: Albania - 01.12.12 - 12.02.13
Field work period: Belgium - 10.09.12 - 24.12.12
Field work period: Bulgaria - 09.02.13 - 30.04.13
Field work period: Cyprus - 01.10.12 - 31.12.12
Field work period: Czech Republic - 09.01.13 - 11.03.13
Field work period: Denmark - 10.01.13 - 24.04.13
Field work period: Estonia - 01.09.12 - 28.01.13
Field work period: Finland - 03.09.12 - 02.02.13
Field work period: France - 08.02.13 - 30.06.13
Field work period: Germany - 06.09.12 - 22.01.13
Field work period: Hungary - 10.11.12 - 17.02.13
Field work period: Iceland - 03.10.12 - 23.03.13
Field work period: Ireland - 15.10.12 - 09.02.13
Field work period: Israel - 03.09.12 - 05.03.13
Field work period: Italy - 01.06.13 - 20.12.13
Field work period: Kosovo - 14.02.13 - 15.03.13
Field work period: Lithuania - 21.05.13 - 25.08.13
Field work period: Netherlands - 28.08.12 - 30.03.13
Field work period: Norway - 14.08.12 - 08.02.13
Field work period: Poland - 19.09.12 - 08.01.13
Field work period: Portugal - 24.10.12 - 20.03.13
Field work period: Russian Federation - 10.10.12 - 27.12.12
Field work period: Slovakia - 24.10.12 - 06.03.13
Field work period: Slovenia - 01.10.12 - 31.12.12
Field work period: Spain - 23.01.13 - 14.05.13
Field work period: Sweden - 01.10.12 - 05.05.13
Field work period: Switzerland - 01.09.12 - 22.04.13
Field work period: Ukraine - 11.07.13 - 09.08.13
Field work period: United Kingdom - 01.09.12 - 07.02.13
Sweden - Ipsos Observer Sweden, S:t Göransgatan 63, Box 12236, 102 26 Stockholm
Switzerland - M.I.S. Trend SA, Lausanne, Switzerland
Ukraine - Center for Social and Marketing Research SOCIS
United Kingdom - Ipsos-MORI, 79-81 Borough Road, LONDON, SE1 1FY
Albania - structured questionnaires in Albanian and Greek (5 interviews).
Belgium - structured questionnaires in Dutch, French
Bulgaria - structured questionnaires in Bulgarian
Cyprus - structured questionnaires in Greek
Czech Republic - structured questionnaires in Czech, 2 interviews in Slovak, respondent induced.
Denmark - structured questionnaires in Danish
Estonia - structured questionnaires in Estonian, Russian
Finland - structured questionnaires in Finnish, Swedish, English
France - structured questionnaires in French
Germany - structured questionnaires in German
Hungary - structured questionnaires in Hungarian
Iceland - structured questionnaires in Icelandic
Ireland - structured questionnaires in English
Israel - structured questionnaires in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian
Italy - structured questionnaires in Italian
Kosovo - structured questionnaires in Albanian, Serbian
Lithuania - structured questionnaires in Lithuanian and Russian
Netherlands - structured questionnaires in Dutch
Norway - structured questionnaires in Norwegian, English (28 interviews), Arabic (1 interview). One interview in Arabic conducted with an interpreter present.
Poland - structured questionnaires in Polish
Portugal - structured questionnaires in Portuguese
Russian Federation - structured questionnaires in Russian
Slovakia - structured questionnaires in Slovak, Hungarian
Slovenia - structured questionnaires in Slovenian
Spain - structured questionnaires in Spanish and Catalan
Sweden - structured questionnaires in Swedish
Switzerland - structured questionnaires in German/Swiss-German, French, Italian
Ukraine - structured questionnaires in Ukrainian, Russian
United Kingdom - structured questionnaires in English
Sampling procedure varied slightly by country. Please see the "Documentation Report" available in the 'Documentation' section for detailed information on how data entry and editing was conducted in each of the 29 countries.
The data are available without restrictions, for not-for-profit purposes.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
European Social Survey Round 6 Data (2012). Data file edition 2.4. NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data, Norway - Data Archive and distributor of ESS data for ESS ERIC. Ref. ECA_2012_ESS-R6_v03_M. Dataset downloaded from [url] on [date].
To ensure that such source attributions are captured for social science bibliographic utilities, citations must appear in the footnotes or in the reference section of publications.
ESS European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC)
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
The ESS ERIC, Core Scientific Team (CST) and the producers bear no responsibility for the uses of the ESS data, or for interpretations or inferences based on these uses. The ESS ERIC, CST and the producers accept no liability for indirect, consequential or incidental damages or losses arising from use of the data collection, or from the unavailability of, or break in access to the service for whatever reason.
DDI Document ID
Norwegian Centre for Research Data
Norway's Ministry of Education and Research
Documentation and archiving of the study
Development Data Group
DDI editing, metadata distribution in the World Bank Microdata Catalog and IHSN Survey Catalog
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
DDI Document - Version 04 - (04/27/21)
This version is identical to DDI_ECA_2012_ESS-R6_v03_M but country field has been updated to capture all the countries covered by survey.
- v03 (February 2020)
Modifications were made to the DDI ID, study ID, study version description, and study design weights. Minor grammatical and formatting edits were made to the geographic coverage, universe, notes on data collection, and the questionnaire sections of the DDI. Updated documents and datasets were uploaded that reflect the changes in version 2.4 available on the European Social Survey site <http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/data/download.html?r=6>
- v02 (November 2017)
Modifications in the study ID and DDI ID were done by the World Bank Microdata Library documentation team to match the standard used by the library and the IHSN Survey Catalog. Some metadata fields were edited, and additional metadata fields were added
- v01 (2016)
The metadata was documented by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data. It was downloaded from http://nesstar.ess.nsd.uib.no/webview/index.jsp?v=2&submode=abstract&study=http%3A%2F%2F184.108.40.206%3A80%2Fobj%2FfStudy%2FESS8e01.0&mode=documentation&top=yes by the World Bank Microdata Library documentation team. The dataset and documents were downloaded from http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/data/download.html?r=6