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Allgemeine Bevölkerungs­umfrage
der Sozial­wissenschaften

ALLBUS 1998 (ZA No. 3000, German version; ZA No. 3753, English version)

Data Set
German / English

Questionnaire (PDF)
German / Englisch

Methodological Report
(PDF - German only)

Variable Report
German / English

Data Collection Period:

  • March 1998 to July 1998

Data Collector:

  • GFM-GETAS (IPSOS), Hamburg

Data Set:

  • 3234 respondents
  • 475 variables

Scientific Council:

  • Klaus Allerbeck, University of Frankfurt;
  • Jutta Allmendinger, University of Munich;
  • Wilhelm Bürklin, University of Potsdam;
  • Marie Luise Kiefer, University of Vienna;
  • Walter Müller, University of Mannheim;
  • Karl Dieter Opp, University of Leipzig;
  • Erwin K. Scheuch, University of Cologne



Social monitoring of trends in attitudes, behavior, and societal change in the Federal Republic of Germany. The main topics in 1998 are:

  1. Economic situation and anticipation of occupational risks
  2. Importance of life aspects
  3. Free time activities, personal manner, and lifestyle
  4. Use and assessment of media
  5. Political participation
  6. Attitudes towards the political system and social inequality
  7. Attitudes relating to the process of German unification
  8. ALLBUS-Demography
  9. Data on the interview (paradata)
  10. Added value


  1. Economic situation and anticipation of occupational risks: assessments of the present and future economic situation in Germany; assessment of present and future personal economic situation; fear of unemployment or loss of business.
  2. Importance of life aspects: family and children, occupation and work, free time and recreation, friends and acquaintances, kinship, religion and church, politics and public life, neighborhood.
  3. Free time activities, personal manner, and lifestyle: reading books; reading magazines; listening to records, CD's, cassettes; watching videos; using the computer; surfing the Internet; private further education; relaxing, being lazy; walking or hiking; yoga, meditation; going to restaurants; visiting friends; visiting relatives; playing games; taking short trips; participating in politics; voluntary activities or honorary offices; attending church or religious events; indulging in art and music; do it yourself; active sport; attending sports events; going to the cinema, to pop concerts, jazz or dance events; classic culture (i.e. opera, classical concerts, theater, exhibitions); preference for folk music (i.e. Volksmusik), German pop songs or rock music, classical music, jazz.
  4. Use and assessment of media:
    • type of television reception device (satellite dish, cable, television aerial), amount of time spent using the media (frequency of radio and television use over the week, amount of time per day spent watching TV or listening to the radio in minutes).
    • Taste in television programs: shows or quiz shows, sports, movies, news broadcasts, political magazines, art and culture programs, traditional German "Heimat"-films, detective films, action films, sitcom or entertainment series; frequency of reading a daily newspaper per week; sections of interest (i.e. politics, business, culture, sport, local, international, advertisements or classified advertisements).
    • Number of periodicals read regularly; titles of regularly-read periodicals; assessment of credibility of each type of media; preferred sources of information on political events (i.e. newspaper, television or conversations).
  5. Political participation: articulation of one's own opinion, voting, public discussion, citizens' initiatives, party work, support of political candidates, demonstrations, house squatting, personal violence, intimidation of opponents, abstinence from voting or casting a protest vote for another party, collecting signatures, blocking traffic (each of these activities were repeatedly raised with respect to the following (1) whether respondent had a role in an activity concerning an important issue, (2) whether respondent had been a participant in earlier activities, (3) whether respondent had been recently active (since the beginning of 1996), (4) whether the action was seen as politically effective (slightly shortened list)).
    Voting behavior in the past: respondent's eligibility to vote and participation in German state elections (Landtagswahl); eligibility to vote and participation in the European elections; eligibility to vote and participation past federal elections; recall of vote in last federal elections.
    Perception of individual influence on politics (political efficacy, political alienation); gap between politicians and citizens; self-assuredness with regard to political group work; perceived influence on governmental policies; too much complexity in politics; the politicians' closeness to constituents.
    Norms for political participation: discontent as motivation for engagement; belief in effectiveness as motivation for engagement; let the elected representatives handle politics; participation in the vote as a civic duty; moral acceptability of violence; plebiscite as a necessary component of democracy; establishing democracy in all social areas.
    Political participation in peer group; criticism of political situation; political activity.
  6. Attitudes towards the political system and social inequality: political support (satisfaction with democracy in Germany); satisfaction with the performance of the federal government; national pride; satisfaction with life in the Federal Republic of Germany.
    Statements on the legitimacy of social inequality: Inequality of income as incentive to achieve; acceptability of differences in status; justness of social differences.
    Political interest; self-placement on a left-right continuum; self-assessment of social class; postmaterialism (importance of law and order, fighting rising prices, free expression of opinions, and influence on governmental decisions); concerns about social issues in Germany (environmental protection, the number of immigrants, the costs of German unification, the development of crime figures, unemployment); perceived representation of personal interests through organizations: trade unions, Catholic and Protestant churches, ecological or environmental organizations, CDU, CSU, SPD, FDP, The Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Republikaner, PDS.
  7. Attitudes relating to the process of German unification: demand for increased willingness to make sacrifices in the West and for more patience in the East; unification is advantageous, for East and West respectively; the future in the East depends on the willingness of eastern Germans to make an effort; strangeness of citizens in the other part of Germany; pressures to work harder in the East; attitudes towards the Stasi-past of individuals; evaluation of socialism as an idea.
  8. ALLBUS-Demography:
    • Details about the respondent: gender; month and year of birth, age; geographical origin and citizenship; place of residence (federal state, administrative district, size of municipality, BIK-type of municipality) and length of residence; religious denomination, frequency of church attendance; voting intention (Sonntagsfrage); school education, vocational training; employment status; details about current occupation, affiliation to public service, supervisory functions, working hours per week; length of unemployment; date of termination of full- or part-time employment; details about former occupation; respondent's income; marital status.
    • Details about respondent's current spouse: school education, vocational training; employment status; details about current occupation.
    • Details about respondent's steady partner: common household; month and year of birth, age; school education, vocational training; employment status; details about current occupation.
    • Details about respondent's parents: school education of father and mother; father's occupation.
    • Description of household: size of household; number of persons older than 17 in household (reduced size of household); household income; type of dwelling; telephone, listing in telephone directory.
    • Details about household members: family relation to respondent; gender; month and year of birth, age; marital status.
    • 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); respondent's current and former memberships (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, environmentalist or alternative political group, other club or association).
  9. Data on the interview (paradata): beginning and end of interview; date of interview; length of interview; presence of other people during the interview (spouse, partner, children, relatives, other persons); interference of other people in the interview; willingness of respondent to cooperate; reliability of respondent's statements.
    Serial number of sample net, sample point and within sample point; number of interview for interviewer; number of interview for sample point; reachability of respondent; willingness of respondent to cooperate.
    Data on the interviewer: gender, age, school education, identification of interviewer.
  10. Added value: Inglehart-Index; family typology, classification of private households (according to Porst and Funk); International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO 1968, 1988); occupational prestige (according to Treiman); magnitude prestige (according to Wegener); occupational metaclassification (according to Terwey); class position (according to Goldthorpe); weights.

Total Population and Sample:

  • Universe sampled: Federal Republic of Germany
  • Household sample: Multi-stage random sample of private households in the new and old states addressing all individuals (German and non-German) who were at least 18 years of age by the day of the interview. The selection of private households was based on the ADM-Master-Design with following random-route. Targeted individuals who did not have adequate knowledge of German to conduct the interview were treated as systematic unit non-responses. Respondents from the area of the new federal states are oversampled so that analysts can obtain a more detailed picture of this portion of the population.

Method of Data Collection:

  • Personal interview with standardized questionnaire (PAPI - Paper and Pencil Interviewing)

Primary Sampling Units / Sample Points:

West:420electoral districts (2 sample nets of 210 electoral districts each taken from the ADM-Mastersample)
East:192electoral districts (2 sample nets of 2x48 electoral districts each taken from the ADM-Mastersample)

Response Rate:



  • Koch, Achim, Karin Kurz, Holger Mahr-George and Martina Wasmer 1999:
    Konzeption und Durchführung der "Allgemeinen Bevölkerungsumfrage der Sozialwissenschaften" (ALLBUS) 1998. ZUMA Arbeitsbericht 99/02.
  • 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:

  • Respondents from the area of the new federal states are oversampled so that analysts can obtain a more detailed picture of this portion of the population.
  • In 1998 the German ISSP was not combined with ALLBUS. Therefore, the German ISSP data set 1998 has different respondents from ALLBUS 1998. It can be obtained as a separate study from the Central Archive (ZA No. 3080).
  • A second version of this data set (227 variables) with a shortened demography module is additionally available as ALLBUScompact 1998 (ZA No. 3719).
  • GESIS also provides an English language version of ALLBUS 1998 (ALLBUS/GGSS 1998, ZA No. 3753; ALLBUS/GGSScompact 1998, ZA No. 3754).
  • A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for use in data citations can be found in the GESIS Data Catalogue.