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Titel: German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), data of the years 1984-2014

DOI: 10.5684/soep.v31
Collection period: 1984-2014
Publication date: November 15, 2015
Principal investigators: Jürgen Schupp, Jan Goebel, Martin Kroh, Carsten Schröder, Klaudia Erhardt, Alexandra Fedorets, Marco Giesselmann, Markus Grabka, Peter Krause, Simon Kühne, Maximilian Priem, 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 109,911
Number of variables 51,203 in 365 data sets
Data format STATA, SPSS, SAS, CSV

MD5 fingerprints

Distribution Format
zip file
all files
Stata bilingual d2941d8149afa7a8810e8003c59771ad   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
Stata German 814032bdcdd2c8b0602f32cff045b294   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
Stata English d1a2d2b5ba69105f7cf7cc6a2c6ca229   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
SPSS German 732e9dd01798f9ddf0d2f6435cdfb818   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
SPSS English b240383e2c45247d0ededff519484438   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
SAS German 3915948e00494a59df0a77f4d99cd400   (TXT, 17.83 KB)
SAS English fb13d618ced783384d4796f0e8dc6d2d   (TXT, 17.83 KB)
CSV 54cc73b250804d362f1d1c86f21eddc2   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
GGKBOU German 2ba2f7ab801dc6dd6d1000b3603d1ecc   (TXT, 140 Byte)
GGKBOU English c680879d0e382f60cb4f0f65092c4d1a   (TXT, 140 Byte)
Teaching version
Stata German (teaching) 6f820e78e0bd16d47aa79de97e615f78   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
Stata English (teaching) debcfe71b12527962f3f3db41ae091ee   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
SPSS German (teaching) 61daf2301a20c5b354ef0d18732339c8   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
SPSS English (teaching) 987ba29cda3169842a2bd093c2cf19fa   (TXT, 15.95 KB)
SAS German (teaching) 44b8bd0c351f811650d44595b61752c4   (TXT, 17.78 KB)
SAS English (teaching) 4fb88bd0a304719699a98c3a9fd9f8b6   (TXT, 17.78 KB)


  • Gert G. Wagner, Joachim R. Frick, and Jürgen Schupp (2007) The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) - Scope, Evolution and Enhancements, Schmollers Jahrbuch (Journal of Applied Social Science Studies), 127 (1), 139-169 (download).
  • Schupp, Jürgen (2009): 25 Jahre Sozio-oekonomisches Panel - Ein Infrastrukturprojekt der empirischen Sozial- und Wirtschaftsforschung in Deutschland, Zeitschrift für Soziologie 38 (5),  350-357 (download).
  • 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. 
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