International Social Survey Programme

The ISSP is a continuing annual programme of cross-national collaboration on surveys covering topics important for social science research.

Social Attitudes Survey Aotearoa New Zealand

COMPASS has run the ISSP survey for New Zealand since 2013. The ISSP is a continuing annual programme of cross-national collaboration on surveys covering topics important for social science research ( It brings together pre-existing social science projects and coordinates research goals, thereby adding a cross-national, cross-cultural perspective to the individual national studies. ISSP researchers especially concentrate on developing questions that are meaningful and relevant to all countries, and can be expressed in an equivalent manner in all relevant languages. There are 48 countries that contribute data to the ISSP. COMPASS became a member officially in 2016. We have rebranded the survey as the Social Attitudes Survey New Zealand for an audience unfamiliar with the ISSP.

The data sets and metadata for all of the ISSP surveys for New Zealand can be downloaded from the University's Figshare repository:
The surveys from 1991 to 2010 were run by Professor Phil Gendall, out of the Department of Marketing at Massey University, an impressive achievement.

Further specific information on the surveys that COMPASS has run has come substantially from summer students that we have been privileged to host over the years, as well as from COMPASS staff. These have included efforts to apply survey weights to the data sets, as well as ensuring that we meet the requirements of the international body, especially in terms of the derivations of demographic variables.

2023: National Identity & Citizenship

We are conducting the 2023 edition of the survey late in 2023, finally catching up to the intended international schedule. This year two previous topics are combined – most recently studied in 2013 and 2014/15 respectively – to make way for a new topic entering the cycle in 2024, Digital Societies.

2022: Family & Changing Gender Roles

We conducted the 2022 edition of the survey early in 2023, once again adding in some questions on the effects of COVID-19 for our own interests. This is the first time that this topic has been studied as part of the ISSP in New Zealand since 2002, as 2012 was one of the years in which we did not have a survey conducted. This survey remains in the field, and more details will be available here in due course.

2021: Health & Healthcare

We conducted the 2021 edition of the survey at the start of 2022, still unable to catch up after COVID-19 lockdowns in Auckland from August to December 2021. We in fact had to change some of our COVID-related questions, which had focused on vaccine hesitancy, a concept that had been mainly outmoded by early 2022. Health & Healthcare had not been studied as part of the ISSP in New Zealand before, as there was no survey in 2011.

ISSP2021: Explore the data

2020: Environment

We conducted the 2020 edition of the survey during 2021, and included a number of questions additional to the ISSP requirements, including opinions around the observed environmental impacts of COVID-19. Environment was previously a topic for the ISSP in 2010, 2000, and 1993.

ISSP2020: Explore the data

ISSP2020: Access the data

2019: Social Inequalities

We conducted the 2019 edition of the survey during 2020, which of course came with unique additional challenges, while making the subject all the more topical. Social inequalities were previously examined by the ISSP in 2009.

ISSP2019: Explore the data
ISSP2019: Access the data

2018: Religion

The 2018 edition of the survey provided an update on people's attitudes towards and experiences of religion, which the ISSP previously covered in 2008 and 1998.

ISSP2018: Explore the data
ISSP2018: Access the data

2017: Social Networks

The 2017 survey covered social networks, in terms of friends and support groups rather than the online offerings of today, one of the rarer topics in the ISSP, having been last considered in 2001, and before that in 1986, before New Zealand had its own version of the survey. This 2017 iteration was funded by the Jeanette Crossley Foundation for Loneliness Across the Life Course.

2016: Role of Government

The 2016 survey discussed the role of government, allowing, among other things, followup on the New Zealand flag referendum, and asking people's opinions on other potential hot topics for that could feasibly go to referendum. We also had two summer students working on the data from this survey, including documenting the survey methodology and making modifications to submit our New Zealand data to the international archive, for the first time as COMPASS.

2015: Work Orientations & 2014: Citizenship

We did not manage to run the survey in 2014 and resolved to combine the 2014 and 2015 modules into one survey early in the latter year, with funding support from the University of Auckland's Business School and the New Zealand European Union Centres Network. The timing was convenient for including a question on the matter of changing the New Zealand flag, which was then written up, as below. The work orientations module was utilised for PhD research, comparing results to those from the 2005 and 1997 surveys for New Zealand. This also involved creating weights for the earlier surveys based on census proportions by age group, gender, and ethnicity.

ISSP2014/15: Explore the data
ISSP2015: Access the data
ISSP2014: Access the data

2013: National Identity

This was the first survey we ran in this series, building on our experience from the 2011 New Zealand Election and Referendum Study, which was a much bigger undertaking.

ISSP2013: Explore the data
ISSP2013: Access the data

1991–2010: The Massey Years

Very impressively, Professor Phil Gendall of Massey University ran the ISSP survey for New Zealand every year from 1991 to 2010. We have since archived the data from these surveys along with our own more recent studies, and constructed R shiny visualisations for the entire series.

ISSP1991–2010: Explore the data
ISSP1991–2010: Access the data

Publications using the data

Greaves LM, Oldfield LD, Milne BJ (2020). Let the People Decide? Support for Referenda since the New Zealand Flag Change Referendums. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, doi:10.1080/1177083X.2020.1786413.

Humpage L & Greaves L (2017). 'Truly Being a New Zealander': Ascriptive versus civic views of national identity. Political Science 69(3): 247–263, doi:10.1080/00323187.2017.1418177.

Humpage L (2015). Policy Change, Public Attitudes, and Social Citizenship:
Does Neoliberalism Matter? Bristol: The Policy Press, doi:10.2307/j.ctt1t89dpv.

Milne B (2015). Who Wants to Change the Flag? Results of a National Representative Survey. New Zealand Sociology 30(4): 126–153, doi:10.3316/informit.800159814690952.

Humpage L (2011). Neoliberal Reform and Attitudes Towards Social Citizenship: A review of New Zealand public opinion data 1987-2005. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand 37:83-96

Humpage L (2008). Radical Change or More of the Same? Public Attitudes Towards Social Citizenship in New Zealand Since Neoliberal Reform. Australian Journal of Social Issues 43(2): 215–230, doi:10.1002/j.1839-4655.2008.tb00099.x.