The ESS survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour 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 topics: 

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

Topics of the rotating section:

  • Round 12, 2025: Personal and social wellbeing and Attitudes to immigrants and refugees
  • Round 11, 2023: Gender in contemporary Europe: Rethinking equality and the backlash as well as Social Inequalities in Health and their Determinants
  • Round 10, 2021: Understandings and Evaluations of Democracy and Digital Social Contacts in Work and Family Life
  • Round 9, 2018: Timing of Life as well as 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. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic at Round 10, Austria as well as eight other countries switched to a self-completion (web and paper) approach. The questions for the Austrian survey are developed based on the English source questionnaire, but the Austrian questionnaire contains 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 first language 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.