The International Social Survey Programme

One survey program ­— 45 countries, 12 social issues

The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) is an international collaborative program that conducts an annual survey on topics relevant to the social sciences.

Founded in 1984 by Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, ISSP now has 45 institutional members, each representing one nation. Members consist of academic organizations, universities, or survey institutes.

Detailed information about the organization and history of the ISSP can be found on the ISSP website.

What makes the ISSP unique?

Since its inception, more than one million respondents (in random samples) across countries have participated in ISSP surveys. Every year since 1985, they have been asked about their opinions on important social issues. The questions, which are organized by modules, have been repeated at regular intervals so that the data enables cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses.

What kind of research questions does ISSP data answer?

The diversity of participating countries, the long time series, and the replications of the topics make the ISSP particularly suitable for research questions on changes in attitudes, behavior, and living conditions over time and for comparison across countries.

Temporal and geographical scope

Since 1985, the number of participating countries from six continents varies from year to year due to funding reasons. The ISSP started with 5 countries in 1985 (Role of Government). The largest dataset is ISSP 2008 (Religion) containing data from 42 member countries.


To date, 11 topics have been covered in modules, some of which have been repeated at different intervals. The subtopics of the modules vary slightly with each repetition. During annual meetings, ISSP members democratically vote on the thematic focus of the upcoming module. For 2024 the ISSP General Assembly decided to develop a new module focusing on the topic “Digital Societies”.

ISSP data and documentation can be downloaded free of charge from the GESIS Data Catalog.

Publications using ISSP data are available in the ISSP Bibliography of GESIS

Here, you can find information on ISSP topics, survey years and participating countries.

This area lists detailed information about the modules with direct links to data and documentation.

Do you still have questions or want to stay informed? Here, you will find our contact details and access to the ISSP mailing list.

Contact persons