Socio-structural characteristics such as marital status, education or employment are measured in many surveys. Like attitudes and values, they are affected by social change and therefore need to be adapted to changing realities as well as to how we look at them. An example is the discussion on the introduction of a third category for the question on respondents’ sex. At the same time, for comparisons of these characteristics across different surveys, it is helpful if they are measured and coded in a comparable way. These goals are obviously in conflict with each other. This blog post deals with the measurement and harmonization of socio-structural characteristics in the light of social change as also discussed in the recent virtual GESIS symposium "Socio structural characteristics in surveys: collection, coding, harmonization”.