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Titel: German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), data of the years 1984-2013

DOI: 10.5684/soep.v30
Collection period: 1984-2013
Publication date: May 11, 2015
Principal investigators: Jürgen Schupp, Martin Kroh, Jan Goebel, Carsten Schröder, Elisabeth Bügelmayer, Marco Giesselmann, Markus Grabka, Peter Krause, Simon Kühne, Elisabeth Liebau, David Richter, Rainer Siegers, Paul Schmelzer, Christian Schmitt, Daniel Schnitzlein, Ingrid Tucci, Knut Wenzig

Short description

The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study is a wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households, located at the German Institute for Economic Research, DIW Berlin. Every year, there were nearly 11,000 households, and more than 20,000 persons sampled by the fieldwork organization TNS Infratest Sozialforschung. The data provide information on all household members, consisting of Germans living in the Old and New German States, foreigners, and recent immigrants to Germany. The Panel was started in 1984. Some of the many topics include household composition, occupational biographies, employment, earnings, health and satisfaction indicators. As early as June 1990—even before the Economic, Social and Monetary Union—SOEP expanded to include the states of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), thus seizing the rare opportunity to observe the transformation of an entire society. An immigrant sample was added as well to account for the changes that took place in German society in 1994/95. Further new samples were added in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The survey is constantly being adapted and developed in response to current social developments. The international version contains 95% of all cases surveyed.

Data collector: TNS Infratest Sozialforschung GmbH.

Population: Persons living in private households in Germany.

Selection method: All samples of SOEP are multi-stage random samples which are regionally clustered. The respondents (households) are selected by random-walk.

Collection mode: The interview methodology of the SOEP is based on a set of pre-tested questionnaires for households and individuals. Principally an interviewer tries to obtain face-to-face interviews with all members of a given survey household aged 16 years and over. Additionally one person (head of household) is asked to answer a household related questionnaire covering information on housing, housing costs, and different sources of income. This covers also some questions on children in the household up to 16 years of age, mainly concerning attendance at institutions (kindergarten, elementary school, etc.).

 Data set information:

Number of units 87,095
Number of variables 52,997 in 389 Datensätzen
Data format STATA, SPSS, SAS, CSV
MD5 fingerprints of the data sets

Stata English and German (TXT, 17.09 KB)
Stata English (TXT, 17.1 KB)
Stata German (TXT, 17.1 KB)
SPSS English (TXT, 17.1 KB)
SPSS German (TXT, 17.1 KB)
SAS English (TXT, 19 KB)
SAS German (TXT, 19 KB)
CSV (TXT, 17.1 KB)
GGKBOU (TXT, 140 Byte)

Teaching versions:
Stata English (50% version) (TXT, 17.1 KB)
Stata German (50% version) (TXT, 17.1 KB)
SPSS English (50% version) (TXT, 17.1 KB)
SPSS German (50% version) (TXT, 17.1 KB)
SAS Englisch (50% version) (TXT, 18.95 KB)
SAS German (50% version) (TXT, 18.95 KB)


  • Jan Goebel, Markus M. Grabka, Stefan Liebig, Martin Kroh, David Richter, Carsten Schröder, Jürgen Schupp. 2018. The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik / Journal of Economics and Statistics (online first), doi: 10.1515/jbnst-2018-0022
  • Schupp, Jürgen (2009): 25 Jahre Sozio-oekonomisches Panel - Ein Infrastrukturprojekt der empirischen Sozial- und Wirtschaftsforschung in Deutschland, Zeitschrift für Soziologie 38 (5),  350-357.
  • Gert G. Wagner, Jan Göbel, Peter Krause, Rainer Pischner, and Ingo Sieber (2008) Das Sozio-oekonomische Panel (SOEP): Multidisziplinäres Haushaltspanel und Kohortenstudie für Deutschland - Eine Einführung (für neue Datennutzer) mit einem Ausblick (für erfahrene Anwender), AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv 2 (4), 301-328 (download).


The SOEP micro data which we make available for scientific research can only be interpreted using statistical software. Direct use of SOEP data is subject to the high standards for lawful data protection in the Federal Republic of Germany. Signing a contract on data distribution with the DIW Berlin is therefore a precondition for working with SOEP data. After signing the contract, the data of every new wave will be available on request. 
more information

Online documentation and updates

Documentation of generated variables  (ZIP, 5.02 MB) (including biography and life history data)

Item correspondence as Excel files (both English and German labels and just English labels)

Documentation table of SOEPlong

The SOEP provides detailled information about the survey and the generated variables, please look for details here.

Version specific changes in the dataset.