Refugee Families in Germany (Geflüchtete Familien in Deutschland, GeFam)

Department(s)/ Research Infrastructure
German Socio- Economic Panel study
Project Status
Current Project
Project Duration
since/from 2016 to 2019
Funded by
BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research)
In Cooperation with
Institute for Employment Research (IAB) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA)
Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research (BIM) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
in cooperation with the Research Centre on Migration, Integration, and Asylum of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ)
Project Manager
Jürgen Schupp (Consortioum Cordinator), Herbert Brücker (IAB), Martin Kroh (BIM)
Project Team/Contacts at DIW Berlin

Conception, Implementation, Preparation, Register Linkage, Analysis, and Data Provision/Distribution of a Representative Sample of Refugee Families (GeFam)

The survey topics cover the refugees’ living situations; their schooling, higher education, and vocational training; and their current occupational situations and social participation. Participation in the survey is voluntary. The study is designed around the SOEP household concept, with the “anchor” respondent drawn from the AZR being surveyed along with his or her family members. The survey is conducted by specially trained interviewers from the fieldwork organization TNS Infratest Sozialforschung with support from interpreters when needed.

Press release in German

The project “Refugee Families in Germany” was designed as a panel study to be conducted in the years 2016, 2017, and 2018 with the aim of substantially improving the data infrastructure for social and economic research on the living situations of refugees in Germany. BAMF will obtain the sample by random selection from the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR). The target population for the survey consists of all individuals who came to Germany seeking asylum between January 2013 and January 2016.
The survey covers topics including the refugees’ living situations; their schooling, higher education, and vocational training; and their current occupational situations and social participation. Participation in the survey is voluntary. The study is designed around the SOEP household concept, with the “anchor” respondent drawn from the AZR being surveyed along with his or her family members. The survey is conducted by specially trained interviewers from the fieldwork organization TNS Infratest Sozialforschung with support from interpreters when needed.

The research data will be checked and prepared for user-friendly analysis as soon as fieldwork has been completed, and will be provided to researchers worldwide in anonymized form by the Research Data Center of the SOEP and the IAB. The planned linkage of survey data with the IAB’s Integrated Employment Biographies (IEB) data set holds great potential for analysis of labor market integration and for research on other aspects of structural integration.

The first round of the IAB-BAMF-SOEP survey covering 1,600 “anchor” respondents and their family members has been in the field since June 2016. The survey has been made possible through financing from the Federal Employment Agency.

The application for the project “Conception, Implementation, Preparation, Register Linkage, Analysis, and Data Provision/Distribution of a Representative Sample of Refugee Families (GeFam)“ recently approved by the BMBF envisions that this sample be doubled by another 1,600 “anchor” respondents along with their families. The GeFam boost sample was designed to increase the number of individuals in the sample who came to Germany with their children or with other underage family members. Fieldwork for the boost sample is set to begin in August 2016. At present, around one-third of all refugees arriving in Germany are minors, and about 90% are accompanied by their parents or other adult family members.

Plans for the GeFam project also include allowing researchers from outside DIW / IAB the opportunity to provide input to the survey. These possibilities will be expanded and formalized in the years to come.