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Allgemeine Bevölkerungs­umfrage
der Sozial­wissenschaften

ALLBUS 2008 (Study-No. 4600, German version; Study-No. 4602, English version)

Data Set
German / English

Questionnaire (PDF)
German / Englisch

Methodological Report
(PDF - German only)

Variable Report
(PDF - German only)

Data Collection Period:

  •  March 2008 to August 2008

Data Collector:

  • TNS Infratest Sozialforschung, Munich

Data Set:

  • 3469 respondents
  • 800 variables

Scientific Council:

  • Hans-Jürgen Andreß, University of Cologne, chair;
  • Andreas Diekmann, ETH Zürich;
  • Hubert Feger, Free University of Berlin;
  • Stefan Liebig, University of Bielefeld;
  • Heiner Meulemann, University of Cologne;
  • Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, University of Mannheim;
  • Heike Trappe, University of Rostock




Social monitoring of trends in attitudes, behavior, and societal change in the Federal Republic of Germany. The main topics in 2008 are:

  1. Economy
  2. Use of media
  3. Political attitudes and political participation
  4. Social capital
  5. The political system and social inequality
  6. Citizenships and country of origin
  7. National pride
  8. Other topics
  9. ALLBUS-Demography
  10. Data on the interview (paradata)
  11. Leisure time and sports (ISSP)
  12. Religion III (ISSP)
  13. Added Value



  1. Economy: assessment of the present and future economic situation in Germany; assessment of present and future personal economic situation; assessment of government responsibility for economic situation.
  2. Use of media: frequency and overall time of watching television; frequency of watching news programs on public and private channels respectively; frequency of reading a daily newspaper per week; frequency of private Internet use; frequency of using the Internet for political information.
  3. Political attitudes political participation: support for more adaptation of immigrants to German customs and practices, less government interference in the economy, stricter measures for environmental protection, legalization of same-sex marriages, equal opportunities for men and women in occupational life, harsher punishment of criminals, making social security government's top priority, redistribution of income in favor of the common people, immigrants are good for the economy, military assistance in the war on terror, respect for civil rights, the increasing openness of world markets; political participation; party preference; confidence in public institutions and organizations: public health service, Federal Constitutional Court, federal parliament (Bundestag), city or municipal administration, judiciary, television, newspapers, universities, federal government, police, political parties, European Commission, European Parliament; 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; placement of political parties on a left-right-continuum (CDU, CSU, SPD, FDP, Die Linke (The Left), Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (The Greens), NPD); likelihood of voting for different political parties.
  4. Social capital: interpersonal trust and trust in family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers; frequency of discussing politics with friends, acquaintances, strangers, and family; membership status of respondent in various clubs and organizations; informal social help; frequency of spending time with colleagues from work, club members or with friends; frequency and type of contact with neighbors (cf. also 9.) ALLBUS-Demography).
  5. The political system and social inequality: perception of individual influence on politics (political efficacy, political alienation); gap between politicians and citizens; self-assuredness with regard to political group work; too much complexity in politics; politicians' closeness to constituents; personal and average citizen's level of political knowledge; majority capable of working in a political group; participation in the vote as a civic duty; support for the idea of democracy; political support (satisfaction with democracy in Germany); satisfaction with the performance of the federal government.
    Statements on the legitimacy of social inequality: inequality of income as incentive to achieve; acceptability of differences in status; justness of social differences; assssment of access to education.
  6. Citizenships and country of origin: first, second, and third citizenship of respondent and of spouse or partner; number of citizenships of respondent and of spouse or partner; original citizenship of respondent and of spouse or partner; country respondent lived in when young; length of residence in Germany.
  7. National pride: support of political attitudes like pride in being a German, displaying national feeling freely, dictatorship better form of government under certain circumstances, national socialism had its good sides, Hitler would be considered differently without the Holocaust, Germany is dangerously swamped by foreigners, foreigners should marry among themselves, Jews have too much influence, Jews do not fit into our society, attacks on asylum seekers' homes are understandable; pride in German institutions and German achievements.
  8. Other topics: attitudes towards the role of women in the family; self-assessment of social class; fair share in standard of living; social pessimism and orientation towards the future (anomia); identification with own community and federal state, the old Federal Republic or the GDR, the unified Germany, and the EC.
  9. ALLBUS-Demography:
    • Details about the respondent: citizenship (nationality), number of citizenships, gender, month and year of birth, age, geographical origin, place of residence (federal state, administrative district, size of municipality, BIK-type of region), school education, vocational training, employment status, details about current and former occupation respectively, affiliation to public service, working hours per week (primary and secondary job), supervisory functions, fear of unemployment, date of termination of full- or part-time employment, status of non-employment, length of unemployment, unemployment in respondent's social environment, overall health, marital status, respondent's income, type of dwelling, self-description of place of residence, frequency and type of contact with neighbors, religious denomination, frequency of church attendance, active role in church life, voting intention (Sonntagsfrage) and electoral participation, attractiveness.
    • Details about respondent's current spouse: citizenship (nationality), number of citizenships, age, month and year of birth, school education, vocational training, employment status, details about current occupation, affiliation to public service, fear of unemployment, status of non-employment.
    • Details about respondent's steady partner: citizenship (nationality), number of citizenships, age, month and year of birth, school education, vocational training, employment status, details about current occupation, affiliation to public service, fear of unemployment, status of non-employment, distribution of household chores.
    • Details about respondent's parents: school education of mother and father, vocational training of mother and father, details about both parents' occupation.
    • Description of household: size of household, number of persons older than 17 in household (reduced size of household), household income.
    • Details about household members: family relation to respondent, gender, month and year of birth, age, marital status.
    • Details about children not living in the household: number of children not living in the household, gender, year of birth, age.
    • Respondent's current memberships: current and previous membership in a trade union, active work in trade union; membership in other occupational organization, active work in such organization; membership in a political party.
  10. Data on the interview (paradata): date of interview; beginning and end of interview; length of interview; presence of other persons during interview; presence of spouse, partner or children during interview; presence of other relatives during interview; interference of other persons in the course of the interview; willingness to cooperate and reliability of information from respondent; respondent followed interview on screen; willingness to participate in on-line surveys or other self-completion survey; participation in additional ISSP-survey; details about respondent's residential building and assessment of respondent's neighborhood; reachability of respondent; willingness to participate.
    Details about the interviewer: gender, age, school education; identification number, length of experience as an interviewer; number of attempts to contact the respondent.
  11. Leisure time and sports (ISSP): time spent on various leisure activities; use of leisure time to express real self, to strengthen social ties; how much fun from various leisure activities; frequency of using leisure time to make social contacts, to relax, to educate oneself; how often bored, uneasy or thinking of work during leisure time; sociability of respondent; desired distribution of time for work and leisure activities; frequency of overnight stays away from home; number of days taken off from work; most frequently played sport or other physical activity; most frequently played game; importance of various reasons for taking part in sports or games; two most preferred sports on TV; how proud of German successes in sports; support of various opinions on sports; participation in activities of various types of associations or groups; interpersonal trust; political interest; factors limiting free use of leisure time; assessment of personal happiness; overall health; height and weight; desired weight change; self-classification on a top-bottom-scale; self-assessment of character traits (abridged Big Five Inventory measuring extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience); opinion on restricting the right to strike for different occupational groups; opinion on making unemployment insurance elective; opinion on eligibility for Hartz IV benefits (welfare) if partner can provide or if there are private savings.
  12. Religion III (ISSP): assessment of personal happiness; attitude towards pre-marital sexual intercourse and marital infidelity; attitudes towards homosexuality and abortion; assessment of the distribution of roles in a marriage and attitude towards working women; general trust in fellow men; confidence in institutions such as the federal parliament (Bundestag), commerce, industry, churches, courts, and schools; change of residence; influence of church leaders on voters and on the government; evaluation of science; religion as source of conflicts; opinion on the power of churches and religious organizations; support for religious tolerance and legal equality of all religions; social acceptance of other religions; freedom of expression for religious fanatics; doubt or strong belief in God; development of personal belief in God; belief in a life after death, the devil, heaven, hell, and miracles; belief in reincarnation, Nirvana, supernatural powers of ancestors; fatalism; cosmology, the meaning of life and the Christian interpretation of life; church and its rites unnecessary for contact with God; religious orientation of father and mother; personal religious orientation and frequency of church attendance in youth; religious orientation of spouse or partner; frequency of church attendance of parents; frequency of prayer and participation in religious activities; religious artifact in home; frequency of visiting holy places; self-assessment of religiousness; self-description as religious or spiritual person; religion and truth; religion as guide and support in life; renewal of religious ties at a turning point in life; superstitious belief in good luck charms, fortune tellers, faith healers, signs of the zodiac and horoscopes; self-classification on a top-bottom-scale; self-assessment of character traits (abridged Big Five Inventory measuring extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience).
  13. 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); Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale (SIOPS, according to Ganzeboom), International Socio-economic Index of Occupational Status (ISEI, according to Ganzeboom); magnitude prestige (according to Wegener); occupational metaclassification (according to Terwey); class position (according to Goldthorpe); Body-Mass-Index; transformation weight for analyses on household level; east-west design weight.


Total Population and Sample:

  • Universe sampled: Federal Republic of Germany
  • Sample of individuals: Two stage disproportionate random sample in western Germany (incl. West Berlin) and eastern Germany (incl. East Berlin) of all persons (German and non-German) who resided in private households on the day of the interview and were born before 1 January 1990. In the first sample stage municipalities (Gemeinden) in western Germany and municipalities in eastern Germany were selected with a probability proportional to their number of adult residents; in the second sample stage individual persons were selected at random from the municipal registers of residents.
    Targeted individuals who did not have adequate knowledge of German to conduct the interview were treated as systematic unit non-responses.


Method of Data Collection:

  • Personal interview with standardized questionnaire (CAPI - Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing), one question battery on political knowledge as CASI (Computer Assisted Self-Interviewing)
  • Two additional questionnaires (CASI) for ISSP (split questionnaire design).


Primary Sampling Units / Sample-Points:

West:  111  Sample-Points (in 102 municipalities)
East:  51  Sample-Points (in 46 municipalities)


Response Rate:

West:  40.5 %
East:  39.8 %
Total:  40.3 %



  • Bens, Arno 2006:
    Zur Auswertung haushaltsbezogener Merkmale mit dem ALLBUS 2004, in: ZA-Information 59: 143 - 156.
  • Terwey, Michael 2000:
    ALLBUS: A German General Social Survey, in: Schmollers Jahrbuch 120: 151 - 158.
  • 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.
  • Martina Wasmer, Evi Scholz, Michael Blohm (2010):
    Konzeption und Durchführung der "Allgemeinen Bevölkerungsumfrage der Sozialwissenschaften" (ALLBUS) 2008. GESIS Technical Report 2010/04.

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.
  • A second version of this data set (490 variables) with a shortened demography module is additionally available as ALLBUScompact 2008 (Study-No. 4601 German version; Study-No. 4603, English version).
  • A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for use in data citations is supplied as part of the data set.