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Centre for Comparative Social Surveys

Centre for comparative social surveys at City University London

Established in 2003, the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys is host to the European Social Survey (ESS), a multi-nation initiative designed to monitor and explain trends in attitudes, beliefs and values across countries in Europe (and its close neighbours).

In December 2013 the ESS became a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), with its Headquarters located within the CCSS. The ESS has been supported by the European Commission under successive Framework Programme grants and since 2009, the Centre has also been part-funded by the  Economic and Social Research Council.

The European Social Survey

Designed to exceptionally rigorous standards, the European Social Survey aims to improve comparative social measurement both within and beyond Europe.

This biennial survey is currently completing its seventh round and planning for an eight is well underway. In every round, core questions are asked about:

  • political orientations, attitudes and behaviour
  • underlying social and moral values
  • national, ethnic and religious allegiances
  • socio-demographic variables.

Other topics are covered on a 'rotating' basis, following a Europe-wide competition. So far these have included:

  • attitudes to immigration (Rounds 1 and 7)
  • active citizenship (Round 1)
  • attitudes to health and medicine (Round 2)
  • economic morality (Round 2)
  • the balance between work and family (Rounds 2 and 5)
  • personal and social wellbeing (Rounds 3 and 6)
  • timing of life (Round 3)
  • the welfare state (Round 4 and planned for Round 8)
  • ageism (Round 4)
  • trust in the police and courts (Round 5)
  • understandings and evaluations of democracy (Round 6)
  • health inequalities (Round 7)
  • attitudes to climate change and energy preferences (planned for Round 8)
ESS data from Rounds 1-6 are freely available and may be accessed via the European Social Survey's website. A short registration process is required.

Individual queries should be directed to the team at