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European Social Survey

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The European Social Survey (ESS) takes place every two years and maps long-term attitudes and behaviours in over 30 countries across Europe. NatCen coordinates the UK’s participation in the study.

Core topics each year include:

  • political engagement and trust
  • social and political values
  • national, ethnic and religious identity.

We also rotate two or three more detailed modules; in 2018 these explored timing of life and justice and fairness in society.

Details of the latest findings are available on the European Social Survey website.

Read the latest publications


The survey is carried out to the highest methodological standards. All countries that take part sign up to a rigorous set of protocols and procedures that set out how the survey has to be carried out. The interviews are all carried out face-to-face, and participants are selected using random probability sampling methods.

All ESS datasets are freely available via the ESS’s data website. This offers users the option of carrying out simple online analysis or downloading the data. A webinar, available to view on YouTube, takes you through how to carry out analysis. There is also a web-based training tutorial, ESS EduNet, available to help less experienced users. 

As part of Round 8, an experiment to recruit an online panel was carried out. The results of this experiment can be found here.  An online panel is also being recruited in 12 countries at Round 10.

View all reports and papers