ESS data is put to wide use in Denmark


In early 2015, the 7th round of the survey data collection for the European Social Survey (ESS) on beliefs and values among European populations was completed. Since the start of ESS in 2001, SFI has been responsible for ensuring the quality of Danish survey data, which researchers - also in Denmark - put to wide use in comparative welfare analyses.

“ESS is one of the most important data sources for welfare analyses on key social indicators within the European populations, producing knowledge about values and beliefs,” explains Torben Fridberg, national coordinator of the Danish data collection and senior researcher at SFI.

SFI is responsible for conducting the Danish part of the European Social Survey, and data from the survey has been widely used by Danish researchers since ESS started in 2001. 

Combining survey data with register data

The Danish ESS data is stored in the Centre for Survey and Survey/Register Data (CSSR) in Denmark. CSSR is funded by the faculties of Social Sciences at the Universities of Copenhagen, Aalborg and Aarhus along with SFI, which hosts the center in Copenhagen.

“All Danish ESS data is stored in CSSR and therefore also linked to CSSR’s permanent battery of register data on respondents. This creates some unique opportunities for researchers,” explains Torben Fridberg. “For instance, one project, conducted at the University of Copenhagen, combined ESS data on attitudes towards immigration with Danish geo-data on the area of residence of the respondent and the number of immigrants living in this area.”

The ESS survey is open to all researchers, Danish as well as international, through the CSSR Open Database. In order to work with a combination of survey and register data, researchers need to be affiliated with, or conduct a joint project with, one of the CSSR member institutions.

ESS data used in a Nordic and Danish context

Torben Fridberg himself has also participated in projects using the ESS data.

In the 2008 round of ESS, one of the themes was ‘Attitudes towards Social Benefits and the Welfare State’, and together with the other Nordic national ESS-coordinators, Torben Fridberg has used this data to carry out comparative welfare analyses on attitudes towards the welfare state.

”This module was especially interesting for a country like Denmark, because we have a strong welfare state. One of the publications to come out of this theme was the book ’The Future of the Welfare State’ from 2012, which looks at attitudes toward the welfare state in the different Nordic populations,” explains Torben Fridberg. He is looking forward to receiving new data on this theme, when the module is repeated in the coming round of ESS.

European data file in late 2015

The Danish ESS data just collected for round 7 is now to be translated and transferred into standardized international codes. In this round, the two extra modules are ‘Personal and Social Welfare’ and ‘Attitudes towards immigration and immigrants’, which is partly a repetition of a module from the first round in 2002.

“When the joint European data file is released at the end of September 2015, we expect a lot of attention from researchers all over the world, especially in relation to the module on attitudes towards immigration,” Torben Fridberg says.

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