Research on social indicators concentrates on various aspects of measurement and analysis of well-being and life quality in Germany as well as in international – above all European - comparison. The research activities at GESIS take place in the Social Indicators Research Centre as well as in the GML Research Program and focuses on three main topics:

Conceptual and methodological questions

Investigating conceptual and methodological questions of social indicator research and social monitoring is directed at developing and improving the basis for measuring societal welfare “beyond the gross national product” as well as corresponding measurement and monitoring instruments (such as indicator systems, indices).

Welfare and quality of life

Empirical examination of societal welfare and quality of life specifically encompasses analyses of material life conditions (for example, living conditions, material living standards and deprivation) and subjective well being (i.e. life satisfaction) over time as well as in an international, comparative perspective. These analyses look at both the population as a whole as well as sub-populations within the whole, such as the elderly, examining the interrelationship between objective and subjective welfare components and objective living conditions and the subjectively perceived quality of life.

Social inequality

Research on social inequality comprises analyses on the extent and structure of social and economic inequality (for example, income and consumer goods distribution, poverty, social strata) as well as their subjective perception, valuation and legitimation. This is also a significant topic for the research focus of analysis of social structure.