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Allgemeine Bevölkerungs­umfrage
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ALLBUS 1986 (ZA No. 1500)


Data Collection Period:

  • March 1986 to May 1986

Primary Investigators:

  • Karl Ulrich Mayer, Max Planck Institute for Educational Research, Berlin;
  • Walter Müller, University of Mannheim;
  • Franz Urban Pappi, University of Kiel;
  • Erwin K. Scheuch, University of Cologne;
  • Rolf Ziegler, University of Munich

Data Collector:

  • INFRATEST, Munich


Social monitoring of trends in attitudes, behavior, and societal change in the Federal Republic of Germany. The main topics in 1986 are:

  1. Importance of life aspects
  2. Education and cultural skills
  3. Political attitudes
  4. Other topics
  5. ALLBUS-Demography
  6. Data on the interview (paradata)
  7. Social networks and support systems I (ISSP 1986)
  8. Added value


  1. Importance of life aspects: family and children, work and occupation, recreation and free time, friends and acquaintances, kinship, religion and church, politics and public life, neighborhood.
  2. Education and cultural skills:
    • general evaluation of education opportunities; importance of personal school performance for success in life; expected importance of school performance in the future; level of educational aspirations for one's own children; most important educational goals in school and in the family; age at graduation from school; vocational training; year of vocational graduation; evaluation of personal occupational training.
    • Possession and use of technical household equipment such as tape recorder, video recorders (VCRs), personal computers, television sets, microwave ovens, calculators, phones, and typewriters; car ownership; possession of driver's license; frequency of car use.
    • Everyday skills such as dancing, taking pictures, filling in tax forms, bike riding, performing repairs, reading a city map and train schedule; foreign language skills; type and extent of vocational and non-vocational further education; difficulties in understanding instruction booklets, fine print, and consumer instruction leaflets; ability to formulate correspondence with administration; number of books bought and read in the last three months; possession of a library card; library use; private correspondence in the last six months.
  3. Political attitudes: political interest; postmaterialism (importance of law and order, fighting rising prices, free expression of opinions, and influence on governmental decisions); self-placement on a left-right continuum; understanding of political events and perceived possibilities of influence on politics; eligibility to vote; electoral participation and recall of past vote.
  4. Other topics: assessment of the present and future economic situation in Germany; assessment of present and future personal economic situation; self-assessment of social class; attitudes towards abortion.
  5. ALLBUS-Demography:
    • Details about the respondent: gender; month and year of birth, age; place of residence (federal state, size of municipality, Boustedt-type of municipality); religious denomination, frequency of church attendance; voting intention (Sonntagsfrage); currently at school or university, school education, vocational training and extended vocational training; employment status; details about current occupation, length of employment, industrial sector, working hours per week, length of commute; date of termination of full- or part-time employment; gaps in occupational biography; details about former occupation; length of unemployment; principal source of livelihood; respondent's income; marital status; marital biography.
    • Details about respondent's current spouse: age; employment status; employment status; details about current occupation; date of termination of full- or part-time employment.
    • Details about respondent's former spouse: age; details about current occupation.
    • Details about respondent's parents: school education and vocational training of father and mother; father's occupation.
    • Description of household: household income; type of dwelling, telephone.
    • Details about household members: family relation to respondent; gender; month and year of birth, age; marital status; income, German citizenship.
    • Respondent's current memberships (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund - DGB) (German Confederation of Trade Unions), Deutsche Angestelltengewerkschaft - DAG (German Salaried Employees' Trade Union), Christlicher Gewerkschaftsbund - CGB (Christian Federation of Trade Unions), Union Leitender Angestellter - ULA (Association of Executive Staff), Deutscher Beamtenbund - DBB (German Civil Service Federation), Deutscher Bauernverband (German Farmers Association), trade association, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie - BDI (Federation of German Industries), association of a liberal profession, other occupational association; choral society, sports club, leisure activity club, local citizens club or community club, other social association, association of German expellees or refugees, charitable association, religious/church organization, youth or student organization, political party, citizens' initiative, other club or association).
  6. Data on the interview (paradata): presence of other people during the interview; intervention of other people in the course of the interview; willingness of respondent to cooperate and reliability of respondent; length of interview; date of interview; gender of interviewer; age of interviewer.
  7. Social networks and support systems I (ISSP):
    • The following questions were asked in reference to all immediate relatives of the respondent: frequency of mutual visits; commuting time for visits; frequency of non-personal contacts (phone and letter).
    • Marriage or pre-marital cohabitation with a steady partner; number of close friends at work and in the neighborhood; gender of best friend; frequency of mutual visits and commuting time; frequency of non-personal contacts; designation of the two preferred contacts for help with shopping, financial needs, problems in a partnership or depression, crucial changes in life; frequency of these problems.
  8. Added value: International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO 1968); occupational prestige (according to Treiman).

Total Population and Sample:

  • Universe sampled: Federal Republic of Germany (including West Berlin)
  • Household sample: Multi-stage random sample (ADM-Mastersample) of private households addressing all individuals with German citizenship who were at least 18 years of age by the day of the interview.

Method of Data Collection:

  • Personal interview with standardized questionnaire (PAPI - Paper and Pencil Interviewing)
  • additional self-completion questionnaire (drop off) for ISSP

Primary Sampling Units / Sample-Points:

  • 689 electoral districts (multistage subsample of 16 sample nets from the ADM-Mastersample)

Response Rate:

  • 58.7 %

Data Set:

Number of Respondents: 3,095
Number of Variables: 521


  • Erbslöh, Barbara and Michael Wiedenbeck 1986:
    Methodenbericht zum "ALLBUS 1986". ZUMA Arbeitsbericht 87/04.
  • Terwey, Michael 2013:
    Oversamples, Units of Analysis, and the Topic of Data Transformation, in: Michael Terwey and Horst Baumann: Variable Report ALLBUS / German General Social Survey Cumulation 1980-2010. Study-No. 4576. Cologne: GESIS, GESIS - Variable Reports; No. 2013/2: x – xvii.

The known literature using ALLBUS-Data is documented in the ALLBUS-Bibliography. This bibliography can be searched online at the GESIS web presence.

Further Notes:

  • A subsequent survey by phone in which all non-respondents as well as part of the respondents from the ALLBUS main survey were interviewed, for example about central demographic characteristics (Non-Response-Study), is available under ZA No. 1669.
  • A second version of this data set (285 variables) with a shortened demography module is additionally available as ALLBUScompact 1986 (ZA No. 3709).
  • A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for use in data citations can be found in the GESIS Data Catalogue.