Survey Data Sets

In order to encourage the use of existing data, we have gathered surveys containing questions dealing with generosity and provided a direct link to their publicly available data. Whenever possible, we have culled generosity-related items from each survey and provided excerpts from the survey instrument describing these questions. The table below shows the datasets available and provides links to the data as well as downloadable excerpts from the survey instrument. Scroll down for a brief overview of each survey.

Name of Data Set Year/s of Collection Data Generosity Items
American Citizen Participation Study 1990 link Questions
American Congregational Giving Study 1993 link  
American Time Use Survey (ATUS) 2005 link Questions
Americans’ Changing Lives Studies 1986, 1989, 1994, 2002 link Questions
Australian General Social Survey 2006 link Questions
Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating 2004 link  
CPS Volunteering Data 2002-2006 link Questions
Economic Values Survey 1992 link Questions
Faith Matters – Putnam and Campbell 2006   Questions
From Belief to Commitment 1992 link  
Gallup & Catholics 1999 link Questions
German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) Study 2005 link  
Giving Australia Project 2005    
Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey (GINPS) 2005 link Questions
God and Society in North America 1996 link Questions
Gratitude Toward God 2004   Questions
General Social Survey 1998, 2002, 2004 link Questions
General Social Survey – Canada 2003-2007 link Questions
Independent Sector Giving and Volunteering Report 2001    
Kellogg Social Responsibility Survey 2007    
Mid-life in the United States 1994/1995, 2002 link Questions
National Congregations Study (NCS) 1998, 2006-7 link Questions
National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES)-Youth 1999 link  
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97) 1997 link Questions
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) 1979-present link Questions
National Longitudinal Survey of Older Men 1990 link Questions
National Survey of Young Women and Mature Women 1979 2003 link Questions
National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) 2002-2008 link Questions
National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) 1987-1988, 1992-1994, 2001-2002
Panel Study of American Religion and Ethnicity (PS-ARE) 2006 link Questions
Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)- Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS) 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 link  
Religion and Public Activism 2002   Questions
Reed-Social Reasoning 1999    
Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey 2000 link  
Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, 2006 2006 link  
Survey of Household Spending-Canada 2003-2007 link  
Survey of Household Spending-Canada 2003-2007 link Questions
The State of Social Giving in South Africa 2003 link Questions
Volunteer Function Inventory 1998   Questions

American Citizen Participation Study (ACPS) 1990 

This study was designed to examine political and nonpolitical civic participation in the United States. Respondents were asked to comment on various topics, including their interest in politics and their party identification, voting status, and activity in community politics. In addition, respondents were asked about their campaign activities, including the kind of work they had done, and how much money and time they had contributed to campaigns for various elections. Respondents also provided information about their own personal experiences with government programs, as well as their opinions on national and social problems in the United States and why people in the United States aren’t more active in politics. Demographic variables measured in this study include respondent’s educational background, occupation, church activity and religious affiliation, race and ethnicity, age, gender, and union membership.

American Congregational Giving Study 1993 

The Lilly Endowment commissioned a nation-wide study of giving in U.S. churches, which came to be known as the American Congregational Giving Study. One aspect consisted of a telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. church members. Three denominations were chosen to be studied: the Southern Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Respondents were asked about their attitudes toward their denomination and congregation, their personal religious beliefs, their religious contributions and their socioeconomic status.

American Time Use Survey (ATUS) 2005 

The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, and socializing.

Americans’ Changing Lives Studies 1986, 1989, 1994, and 2002 

Focusing especially on differences between Black and White Americans in middle and late life, these data constitute the first, second, third, and fourth waves in a national longitudinal panel survey covering a wide range of sociological, psychological, mental, and physical health items. The fourth wave of Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL IV) was collected in 2002 and is part of a larger research program designed to investigate the following: (1) the ways in which a wide range of activities and social relationships that people engage in are broadly “productive,” (2) how individuals adapt to acute life events and chronic stresses that threaten the maintenance of health, effective functioning, and productive activity, and (3) sociocultural variations in the nature, meaning, determinants, and consequences of productive activity and relationships. Among the topics covered are interpersonal relationships (spouse/partner, children, parents, friends), sources and levels of satisfaction, social interactions and leisure activities, traumatic life events (physical assault, serious illness, divorce, death of a loved one, financial or legal problems), perceptions of retirement, health behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption, overweight, rest), and utilization of health care services (doctor visits, hospitalization, nursing home institutionalization, bed days). Also included are measures of physical health, psychological well-being, and indices referring to cognitive functioning. Background information provided for individuals includes household composition, number of children and grandchildren, employment status, occupation and work history, income, family financial situation, religious beliefs and practices, ethnicity, race, education, sex, and region of residence.

Australian General Social Survey 2006 

Among the many, often inter-related, aspects of life that are important to human wellbeing are good health, good family relationships and engagements with wider social networks, good educational opportunities and outcomes, suitable employment, a decent income and freedom from financial stress, a decent and affordable place to live, feeling safe and secure, and having access to suitable transport. There is increasing recognition that many social phenomena are inter-related and social policy is becoming less sectoral as a consequence. In 2006, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted the second General Social Survey (GSS), a multi-dimensional social survey that ranges across all of these aspects of life to enable analysis of the interrelationships in social circumstances and outcomes, including the exploration of multiple advantage and disadvantage.

Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP), 2004 

The purpose of this survey is to collect data regarding unpaid volunteer activities, charitable giving and participation. The results will help build a better understanding of these activities which can in turn be used to help develop programs and services.

CPS Volunteering Data 2002-2006

About 61.8 million people, or 26.4 percent of the population, volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2007 and September 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Both the level and rate of volunteering were essentially unchanged from the prior year. These data on volunteering were collected through a supplement to the September 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS). The supplement was sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. Volunteers are defined as persons who did unpaid work (except for expenses) through or for an organization.

Economic Values Survey 1992

This is a survey of participants in the U.S. labor force. Nearly 100 social scientists, religion specialists and historians were asked to solicit topics to be included in the survey. “This sample is intended to be representative of the active labor force age eighteen and over living in the continental United States” (Wuthnow 1994, 270).

Faith Matters-Putnam and Campbell 2006

From Belief to Commitment 1992 

In 1992, INDEPENDENT SECTOR conducted a national survey of the activities and finances of religious congregations in order to provide information about religious organizations as part of a larger national survey of the activities and finances of private, nonprofit, charitable organizations in the United States. This survey was also designed to update a larger survey of the activities and finances of congregations conducted in 1987. The purpose of these surveys is to provide information about an important set of institutions and their impact on the quality of life in their communities and on individual giving and volunteering more generally.

Gallup & Catholics 1999

This survey is a follow-up survey to the 1993, 1992, and 1987 Surveys of American Catholics. The survey included interviews with 877 self-described Catholics. Most of the items in the survey also were asked in the 1987 and 1993 surveys. By asking the same questions at different points in time, trends can by measured. D’Antonio and his associates published these survey results in the 2001 book, American Catholics: Gender, Generation, and Commitment, the third in a series to monitor trends among American Catholics.

German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) Study 2005

SOEP is a wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households in Germany. The same private households, persons and families have been surveyed annually since 1984. As early as June 1990—even before the Economic, Social and Monetary Union—SOEP expanded to include the states of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), thus seizing the rare opportunity to observe the transformation of an entire society. An immigrant sample was added as well to account for the changes that took place in Germany society in 1994/95. Further new samples were added in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2006. The survey is constantly being adapted and developed in response to current social developments.

Giving Australia Project 2005

The Giving Australia research comprised a national Individual and Household Survey, on individual and household giving and volunteering; a Survey of Business, designed to collect information on donations, sponsorship and community business projects; and a Survey of Nonprofit Organisations and Fundraisers to assess the fundraising and development capacity of nonprofit organisations, as well as the resources and supports available and their uptake.

Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey (GINPS) 2005

The ‘Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey’ provides detailed information on charitable giving and volunteering activities of a representative sample of individuals in Dutch households. The first wave was held in 2002; second, third and fourth waves have been conducted in 2004, 2006 and 2008 respectively. Researchers across the world are invited to use the data for publications on giving and volunteering.

God and Society in North America 1996 

A 1996 survey of religion, politics, and social involvement in Canada and the United States.

Gratitude Questionnaire-Six-Item Form (GQ-6) 2001

The Gratitude Questionnaire-Six-Item Form (GQ-6) is a six- item self-report questionnaire designed to assess individual differences in the proneness to experience gratitude in daily life.

Gratitude Toward God 2004

The purpose of this study was to see if feeling grateful to God reduces the deleterious effects of stress on health in late life. In addition, an effort was made to test for gender differences in this process.

General Social Survey 1998 2002 2004

The General Social Surveys (GSS) have been conducted by the National Opinion Research Center annually since 1972 except for the years 1979, 1981, and 1992 (a supplement was added in 1992), and biennially beginning in 1994. The GSS are designed as part of a program of social indicator research, replicating questionnaire items and wording in order to facilitate time-trend studies. Items in the 1998 GSS include special modules on religion (with items measuring giving, volunteering, religious self-identification, religious schooling, congregational affiliation, and spiritualism), culture, job experiences, inter-racial friendships, national security, medical care, medical ethics, and the social security system.

General Social Survey – Canada (2003-2007)

The two primary objectives of the General Social Survey (GSS) are: to gather data on social trends in order to monitor changes in the living conditions and well being of Canadians over time; and to provide information on specific social policy issues of current or emerging interest. This survey collects data on family, social support and retirement for Canadians aged 45 years and over. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the needs and experiences of these Canadians by examining key transitions related to their families, care giving and receiving, work and retirement.

Independent Sector Giving and Volunteering Report 2001

Independent Sector’s Giving and Volunteering in the United States Signature Series provides a comprehensive picture of the giving and volunteering habits of Americans. Based on a national survey of more than 4,000 adults, this series of reports explores the why, how, and who behind the extraordinary everyday generosity—both in time and money—of American households. The Signature Series is sponsored by the MetLife Foundation.

Kellogg Social Responsibility Survey 2007

Mid-life in the United States 1994/1995, 2002

The first MIDUS investigation was conducted in 1994/95 with a sample of over 7,000 Americans aged 25 to 74. In 2002, the National Institute on Aging provided a grant to the Institute on Aging at the University of Wisconsin to carry out a longitudinal follow-up.

National Congregations Study (NCS) 1998 2006-7

The National Congregations Study (NCS) is an ongoing national survey effort to gather information about the basic characteristics of America’s congregations. The first wave of the NCS took place in 1998; Wave II was fielded in 2006-07. The study was repeated in order to track both continuity and change among American congregations.

National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES)-Youth 1999

The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population and offers researchers, educators, and policymakers a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The NHES surveys cover learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood. The most recent data collection in 2007 consisted of two surveys: Parent and Family Involvement in Education and School Readiness.

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97) 1997

The NLSY97 consists of a nationally representative sample of approximately 9,000 youths who were 12 to 16 years old as of December 31, 1996. Round 1 of the survey took place in 1997. In that round, both the eligible youth and one of that youth’s parents received hour-long personal interviews. Youths continue to be interviewed on an annual basis.

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79)

The NLSY79 is a nationally representative sample of 12,686 young men and women who were 14-22 years old when they were first surveyed in 1979. These individuals were interviewed annually through 1994 and are currently interviewed on a biennial basis. Since their first interview, many of the respondents have made transitions from school to work, and from their parents’ homes to being parents and homeowners. These data provide researchers an opportunity to study a large sample that represents American men and women born in the 1950s and 1960s, and living in the United States in 1979.

National Longitudinal Survey of Older Men 1990

Interviews began in 1966 for the NLS older men, a group of 5,020 men ages 45-59. Older men were well into their careers, and were on the threshold of decisions about the timing and extent of their labor force withdrawal. Data collection focused on topics such as work and nonwork experiences, retirement planning, health conditions, insurance coverage, and the ways in which respondents spent their leisure time. The survey also tracked labor market decisions such as middle-age job changes, retirement expectations and experiences, and reentry to the labor market after initial retirement. Interviews with this cohort ceased in 1981. In 1990, information was collected from respondents and widows or other next-of-kin deceased sample members. Also includes cause of death information collected from state vital records departments in 1990.

National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) 2002-2008

The National Study of Youth and Religion is a research project directed by Christian Smith, Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and Lisa Pearce, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This project, generously supported by Lilly Endowment Inc., began in August 2001 and is currently funded through December 2010. Wave 3 (January 2007 – December 2010) is also supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The project is designed to enhance our understanding of the religious lives of American youth from adolescence into young adulthood, using telephone survey and in-depth interview methods.

National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) 1987-1988, 1992-1994, 2001-2002

The NSFH was designed to provide a broad range of information on family life to serve as a resource for research across disciplinary perspectives. A considerable amount of life-history information was collected, including: the respondent’s family living arrangements in childhood, departures and returns to the parental home, and histories of marriage, cohabitation, education, fertility, and employment. The design permits the detailed description of past and current living arrangements and other characteristics and experiences, as well as the analysis of the consequences of earlier patterns on current states, marital and parenting relationships, kin contact, and economic and psychological well-being. Interviews were conducted in 1987-88, 1992-94, and 2001-2003.

Panel Study of American Religion and Ethnicity (PS-ARE) 2006 link

Panel Study of American Religion and Ethnicity (PS-ARE) is an unprecedented, multi-level panel study focused on religion in the U.S., with a particular focus on capturing ethnic and racial diversity. The PS-ARE seeks to understand the impact of religion in everyday life, and ultimately the connections between religious change and other forms of change in individuals and families over the course of their lives and across generations. It includes substantive modules on family relationships, deviance, health, civic participation and volunteering, moral and social attitudes, and race and ethnic issues. In time, this panel study is expected to develop into a multi-wave longitudinal study comprising both individual and family level data. This study is also known as the Portraits of American Life Study (PALS).

Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) / Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS) 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 link

The PSID is a nationally representative longitudinal study of nearly 9,000 U.S. families. Following the same families and individuals since 1968, the PSID collects date on economic, health and social behavior. COPPS is a special module within the PSID dedicated to topics related to giving and volunteering.

Religion and Public Activism 2002

The 2002 RAPAS is a telephone survey representing English-speaking Americans 18 years of age and older who resided in households in the U.S., conducted from April to July 2002 using a random-digit-dial method, employing a sample of randomly generated telephone numbers representative of all telephones in the 50 States. RAPAS contains topic modules on, among other things, attitudes and behaviors about September 11, tolerance, ego-networks, voluntary organizations, religion, and civic engagement. The final sample size for RAPAS was 2,898.

Reed-Social Reasoning 1999

Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey 2000

The survey comprises both a national sample of some 3,000 respondents and community respondents in 42 communities nationwide (across 29 states) covering an additional 26,700 respondents. The survey measures everything from levels of giving blood, to hanging out with friends, to participating in various groups and associations, to levels of trust, to participation in group arts and group sports, to the diversity of our friendship patterns. The release of the dataset for the survey will enable researchers around the country to undertake their own research on these topics.

Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, 2006 2006

The 2006 Social Capital Community Survey is comprised of a national adult sample of 2,741 respondents and twenty-two communities sample (11 of which were from the 2000 Social Capital Benchmark Survey) totaling 9,359 community respondents.  The overall sample size is 12,100.

Survey of Household Spending-Canada 2003-2007 

The Survey of Household Spending contains information about expenditures at the household level on a wide variety of goods and services: food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health care, child care, education, reading materials, communications, recreation, furniture, tobacco and alcohol, gambling, taxes, insurance premiums, pension contributions, money gifts, and charitable contributions. It also collects information about dwelling characteristics such as type of dwelling, whether repairs are needed, tenure (owned or rented), year of move, period of construction, number of rooms and bathrooms, and the age and type of heating equipment and fuel used. Household equipment presented includes a variety of household appliances, communications and entertainment equipment and services, and the number of vehicles owned.

The State of Social Giving in South Africa 2003

This study is a critical examination of the phenomenon of ‘giving’ in South Africa. It will focus on both the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of aid flows , by addressing six central questions: who gives; why do they give; who is at the receiving end of giving; to what activities or causes do people give; how much do people give and how organised is the process of giving

Volunteer Function Inventory 1998