The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes - 2019 - Social Inequality

The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) is Australia’s main source of data for the scientific study of the social attitudes, beliefs and opinions of Australians, how they change over time, and how they compare with other societies.

The survey is used to help researchers better understand how Australians think and feel about their lives. It produces important information about the changing views and attitudes of Australians as we move through the 21st century. Similar surveys are run in other countries, so data from AuSSA survey also allows us to compare Australia with countries all over the world.

AuSSA is also the Australian component of the International Social Survey Project (ISSP). The ISSP is a cross-national collaboration on surveys covering important topics. Each year, survey researchers in some 40 countries each do a national survey using the same questions. Here are some examples of surveys in other countries that are the equivalent to AuSSA:


The ISSP focuses on a special topic each year, repeating that topic from time to time. The topic for the upcoming 2019 survey is "Social Inequality". This is the fifth time this has been the topic of the survey, having previously been the theme for the survey in 19871992, 1999 and 2009


​Data collection for the AuSSA 2019 is due to begin in May 2019 (first quarterly wave of data collection), and due to complete in May 2020.

How will participants be selected?

AuSSA aims to survey a representative sample of adult Australians. The fairest way of doing that is to draw a random sample from the Australian Electoral Roll. This means every Australian citizen has an equal chance of having their views included in the survey, and means that researchers are able to use statistical techniques to make inferences about Australian society overall on the basis of characteristics of the sample.

We have applied to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to supply name and address information for the project in accordance with Item 3 of subsection 90B(4) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

We have randomly selected 5000 citizens from the electoral roll. Each of them will be posted an explanatory letter, followed by a questionnaire booklet and reply paid envelope. Up to three reminder mailings will be sent for participants who do not return a booklet. We expect at least 1200 will return a completed questionnaire.


​Selected questions

Questions asked of respondents will include:​

  • How important is coming from a wealthy family?
  • How important is being born a man or a woman?
  • About how much do you think a doctor in general practice should earn, and does earn?
  • Are differences in income in Australia too large?
  • Do you think people with high incomes should pay a larger share of their income in taxes than those with low incomes?
  • How difficult or easy do you think it will it be for your household to make ends meet?

Contributing questions to the AuSSA 2019

Running a high quality, nationally representative survey requires the support of individual researchers willing to include their own questions in return for sponsorship of the survey. The fee is $1,000 (exc GST) per question (i.e. per 'tick') for the full sample of 1200, or $400 to be included in any one of the 4 sub-samples. Please contact for more information.

  1. The first wave of data collection ran in May 2019, and is now complete.
  2. The second wave began data collection began in August 2019 and is now underway
  3. The third wave of data collection is due to run in November 2019. Any contributed questions must be finalised by 18 October 2019.
  4. The fourth wave of data collection is due to run in February 2020. Any contributed questions must be finalised by 17 January 2020.


Access to results from AuSSA 2019


A summary (codebook) of the results from the AuSSA 2019 is available to view in your web browser


AuSSA 2019 data is now available to the public in the AuSSA 2019 Australian Data Archive Website

For more information:

Tel. 1800 122 251 (free call)