The ESS survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behavior patterns of diverse populations in all participating European countries (countries per round link). The survey consists of three parts:

  • Core section focusing on a range of different themes that are largely the same in each round. 
  • Rotating section dedicated to specific themes, which are sometimes repeated in later rounds.
  • An additional section containing questions about the individual value system and some experimental test questions.

Main questions of the core section focus on the following themes: 

  • Politics
  • Trust in public institutions
  • Immigration
  • Fear of crime
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Well-being
  • Individual value focus
  • Demography

Themes of the rotating section:

  • Round 9, 2018: Timing of Life and Justice and Fairness
  • Round 8, 2016: Public attitudes to climate change and energy
  • Round 7, 2014: Immigration and social inequalities in health
  • Round 6, 2012: Democracy, personal and social well-being
  • Round 5, 2010: Justice, Family and Work
  • Round 4, 2008: Ageism and welfare attitudes
  • Round 3, 2006: Timing of life, personal and social well-being 
  • Round 2, 2004: Economic Morality, Family, Work and Well-being, Health and care
  • Round 1, 2002: Immigration and Citizen Involvement


In the Austrian ESS, data has been collected via face-to-face interviews using CAPI. The main questions are asked by an interviewer, the additional questions are answered by the interviewees themselves. The questions for the Austrian survey are developed based on the English source questionnaire but they contain additional country specific information (such as political parties, officially recognized denominations, country specific variations of the educational system). The questionnaire is translated to German. The ESS sample for Austria represents all people from age 15 (there is no upper age limit) living in Austria, no matter what nationality or citizenship they have and which mother tongue they speak. The interviewees are selected by strict random probability methods. All countries must aim for a minimum 'effective achieved sample size' of 1.500.