The SOEP Household Panel is a Service Unit of the Leibniz Association (WGL) and is located at DIW Berlin. SOEP researchers not only provide the data to the global research community but also conduct their own analyses of the data. TNS Infratest Sozialforschung (Munich) carries out the fieldwork.

The SOEP was founded in 1983 as a sub-project of the German Research Foundation’s Collaborative Research Center Sfb 3, “Microanalytical Foundations of Social Policy,” which was then based at the Universities of Frankfurt am Main and Mannheim. The director of the project up to 1988 was Prof. Hans-Jürgen Krupp. In 1989, Prof. Gert G. Wagner took over as director, and left the position in 2011 to join the executive board of DIW Berlin. In early 2011, Prof. Jürgen Schupp (FU Berlin), previously deputy director of the SOEP, took over as SOEP director, until his death in late 2011 jointly with Joachim Frick . Since 2013, Gert G. Wagner (TU Berlin) has been the representative of the SOEP on the executive board of DIW Berlin.

From 1990 to 2002, SOEP was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). As a Service Unit of the Leibniz Association, SOEP now receives continued funding through the Joint Science Conference (GWK) by the Federal Government and the State of Berlin.

SOEP is surveying the same private households, individuals, and families every year since 1984. The survey is constantly being adapted and developed in response to current social developments.