General Social Survey 2008 Cross-Section and Panel Combined

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


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. The 2008 GSS featured special modules on attitudes toward science and technology, self-employment, terrorism preparation, global economics, sports and leisure, social inequality, sexual behaviors and religion. Items on religion covered denominational affiliation, church attendance, religious upbringing, personal beliefs, and religious experiences.

The GSS is in transition from a replicating cross-sectional design to a design that uses rotating panels. In 2008 there were two components: a new 2008 cross-section with 2,023 cases and the first re-interviews (panel) with 1,536 respondents from the 2006 GSS. The 2,023 cases in the cross-section have been previously released as a part of the 1972-2008 cumulative data. This new release includes those 1,536 re-interviewed panel cases along with the 2,023 cases. Please note that this is not a cumulative file - those cases and variables not surveyed in 2008 are excluded. Also note that, although those 1,536 cases were from the 2006 sample, this release does not include their responses in 2006. We plan to release a data file with the previous responses in the future. This release introduces new variables that were asked only of the panel cases of the 2008 GSS. The majority of variables introduced are related to the 2007 International Social Survey Program (ISSP) module on leisure time and sports.

Data File
Cases: 3,559
Variables: 898
Weight Variable: WTSS, WTSSALL, WTSSNR, WTPAN, WTNRPAN, WTCOMB, WTNRCOMB, OVERSAMP, FORMWT
Data Collection
Date Collected: 2008
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 onwards. 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
James A. Davis
Tom W. Smith
Peter V. Marsden
Information on Weighting
OVERSAMP - As described in the previous section, the 1982 survey included an oversample of blacks. To make the 1982 survey a representative cross-section, the user can either exclude the black oversample cases by excluding codes 4 and 5 on SAMPLE or weight the file by OVERSAMP. To make the 1987 survey a representative cross-section the user can either exclude the black oversample by excluding code 7 on SAMPLE or weight the file by OVERSAMP. Users should adopt one of these procedures in all cases except when analyzing only blacks from the 1982 and/or 1987 cross-sections and oversamples.

FORMWT - Problems with form randomization procedures on the 1978, 1980, 1982-1985 surveys necessitate the use of FORMWT when variables appearing on only one form are analyzed. A complete list of form-related variables appears in Appendix P.

WTSS - This variable takes into consideration a) the sub-sampling of non-respondents, and b) the number of adults in the household. It also essentially maintains the original sample size. In years prior to 2004, a '1' is assigned to all cases so that they are effectively unweighted. To adjust for number of adults in years prior to 2004, a number-of-adults weight would need to be utilized as described above.

WTSSNR - This variable is similar to WTSS, but includes in an area non-response adjustment. Thus, this variable takes into consideration a) the sub-sampling of non-respondents, b) the number of adults in the household, and c) differential non-response across areas. It also essentially maintains the original sample size. As with WTSS, WTSSNR has a value of '1' assigned to all pre-2004 cases and as such they are effectively unweighted. The number of adults can be utilized to make this adjustment for years prior to 2004, but no area non-response adjustment is possible prior to 2004.

WTSSALL - WTSSALL takes WTSS and applies an adult weight to years before 2004.

WTPAN - Weight for the panel cases only.

WTNRPAN - Weight for the panel cases, considering non-respondents.

WTCOMB - Weight for both cross-section and the panel cases combined.

WTNRCOMB - Weight for both cross-section and the panel cases combined, considering non-respondents.
Note 1: Occupation and Industry Codes
The following link provides a detailed description of the occupation and industry codes utilized in the 2008 GSS dataset.:

Appendix F

Appendix I
Note 2: Prestige and Socioeconomic Index Codes
The following link provides a detailed description of the prestige and socioeconomic index (SEI) codes utilized in the 2008 GSS dataset:

Appendix G
Note 3: Other Protestant Denominations
Hungarian Reformed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Evangelical Congregational . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Ind. Bible, Bible, Bible Fellowship. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Eckankar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Church of Prophecy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....... 5
New Testament Christian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Church of God, Saint & Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 7
Moravian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 8
Christian & Missionary Alliances . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 9
Advent Christian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 10
Spiritualist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Assembly of God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 12
Free Methodist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... 13
Apostolic Faith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
African Methodist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Free Will Baptist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Eden Evangelist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Holiness (Nazarene). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Baptist (Northern) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Brethren Church, Brethren. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Witness Holiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Brethren, Plymouth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
United Brethren, United Brethren in Christ . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Independent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Christian Disciples. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Christ in Christian Union. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Open Bible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Christian Catholic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Christ Church Unity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Christ Adelphians. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Christian; Central Christian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Christian Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Christian Scientist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Church of Christ, Evangelical. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Church of Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Churches of God (Except in Christ and in Holiness). . . . . . . . 36
Church of God in Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Church of God in Christ Holiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Church of the Living God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Congregationalist, 1st Congreg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Community Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Covenant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Dutch Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Disciples of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Evangelical, Evangelist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Evangelical Reformed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Evangelical Free Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
First Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
First Christian Disciples of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
First Reformed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
First Christian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Full Gospel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Four Square Gospel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Friends. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Holy Roller. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Holiness; Church of Holiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Pilgrim Holiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Jehovah's Witnesses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
LDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
LDS-Mormon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
LDS-Reorganized. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
LDS-Jesus Christ; Church of Jesus LDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Mennonite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Mormon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Nazarene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Pentecostal Assembly of God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Pentecostal Church of God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Pentecostal Holiness, Holiness Pentecostal . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Quaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Reformed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Reformed United Church of Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Reformed Church of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Religious Science. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Mind Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Salvation Army . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Seventh-day Adventist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Sanctified, Sanctification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
United Holiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Unitarian, Universalist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
United Church of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
United Church, Unity Church. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Wesleyan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Wesleyan Methodist-Pilgrim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Zion Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Zion Union Apostolic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Zion Union Apostolic-Reformed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Disciples of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Grace Reformed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Holiness Church of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Evangelical Covenant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Million Covenant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Missionary Baptist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Swedish Mission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Unity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
United Church of Christianity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Other Fundamentalist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Federated Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
American Reform. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Grace Brethren . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Christ in God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Charismatic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Pentecostal Apostolic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
House of Prayer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Latvian Lutheran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Triumph Church of God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Apostolic Christian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Christ Cathedral of Truth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Bible Missionary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Calvary Bible. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Amish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Evangelical Methodist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Worldwide Church of God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Church Universal and Triumphant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Mennonite Brethren . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Church of the First Born . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Missionary Church. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
The Way Ministry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
United Church of Canada. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Evangelical United Brethren. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
The Church of God of Prophecy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Chapel of Faith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Polish National Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Faith Gospel Tabernacle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Christian Calvary Chapel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Camelite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Church of Daniel's Band. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Christian Tabernacle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Living Word. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
True Light Church of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Macedonia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Brother of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Primitive Baptist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Independent Fundamental Church of America. . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Chinese Gospel Church. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
New Age Spirituality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
New Song . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Apostolic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Faith Christian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
People's Church. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
New Birth Christian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Unity School of Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Assyrian Evangelist Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Don't know . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 998
No answer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 999
Not applicable (not Protestant and Protestant
denomination given, and not married) . . . . . . . . . . .blank