European Social Survey
General Info

ESS ERIC HQ, City, University of London

Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB, United Kingdom

legal status


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 ESS RI assembles, interprets and disseminates data on social attitudes and behaviours that are gathered in each of the participating countries. It responds to the academic, public policy and societal needs to understand social stability and change within the European context. The topics of the ESS include: citizen involvement and democracy, family and working life, personal and social wellbeing, attitudes to and experiences of ageism as well as trust in institutions. The survey allows for new topics to be introduced over time via an open academically-led competition. The ESS was established as European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in November 2013. Currently, 28 countries are Members and there is 1 Observer country.
Total Investment 130 M€ Design Preparation 8,8 M€ Implementation 7,45 M€ Operation 7,45 M€/year Project Landmark 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030 2032 2034 2036 2038 RM06 RM08 RM10 RM16 RM18 RM21 LA24
Roadmap Entry
as project: 2006
as landmark: 2016
Total investment
130 M€
Design Phase
Preparation Phase
8,8 M€
Implementation Phase
7,45 M€
Operation start
7,45 M€/year
ESS is designed for use primarily by the academic community. ESS has over 230,000 registered users world wide and there are over 6500 publications using ESS data. Many ESS users are students and ESS data is used extensively in university teaching of data analysis in the social sciences. However, the data itself and publications using the data which are produced by academics are also used to provide direct and contextual evidence across a range of non-academic bodies, both governmental and agencies. ESS has helped inform the work of other surveys in Europe in terms of methodology and questionnaire content including the European Quality of Life Survey, the European Values Survey and the International Social Survey Programme. ESS data and methodology are used in academic teaching in many countries. In addition, the ESS has an ongoing and expanding programme of knowledge transfer directly with policy makers and has held seminars at the European Parliament, Italian parliament and OECD, and European Commission, including with its Joint Research Centre. As part of ESS SUSTAIN (H2020 GA 676166) Technopolis was commissioned to carry out a wide-ranging impact study of ESS; the report (September 2017) is available via the ESS website ( As part of the ESS SUSTAIN 2 project (GA 871063), this exercise was updated and the report made available on the ESS website (see A new multi-partner Horizon Europe project (INFRA4NEXTGEN, GA 101131118) seeks to harness social science data from the ESS,, Gender and Generations Project, European Values Survey and Eurostat to respond to Make it Green, Health, Strong, Equal and Digital' themes.
The key services provided through its data portal, underpinned by its comprehensive programme of dissemination, include the provision of free access (for non commercial use) to an ever increasing volume of robust data measuring changes of social attitudes and behaviours over time. Such data may be used for scholarly and policy-focused teaching, research and analysis purposes. Support for use of the data is also provided through the provision of available tools and methodological and data curation documentation that are made available, supporting training and analysis activities.
D I G I T E N E E N V H & F P S E
ESS ERIC collaborates with other RIs through a variety of approaches. It is an active member of the domain specific Social Sciences and Humanities Open Science Cloud (SSHOC) cluster and formally, through through Horizon Europe, it collaborates with another RI in the Environment domain (PAUL Project, GA 101037319, coordinated by ICOS ERIC). It is a participant in the ERIC Forum 2 Implementation Project, working with the ERIC community via the ERIC Forum.