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Title: Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), data from 1984-2015

DOI: 10.5684/soep.v32
Collection period: 1984-2015
Publication date: December 14, 2016
Principal investigators: Jürgen Schupp, Jan Goebel, Martin Kroh, Carsten Schröder, Charlotte Bartels, Klaudia Erhardt, Alexandra Fedorets, Marco Giesselmann, Markus Grabka, Peter Krause, Simon Kühne, David Richter, Diana Schacht, Paul Schmelzer, Christian Schmitt, Daniel Schnitzlein, Rainer Siegers, 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 15,000 households, and more than 25,000 persons sampled by the fieldwork organization TNS Infratest Sozialforschung. The data provide information on all household members, consisting of Germans living in the Eastern and Western German States, foreigners, and 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. Also immigrant samples were added in 1994/95 and 2013/2015 to account for the changes that took place in Germany society. Further new samples were added in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Since Version 31 (10.5684/soep.v31) the SOEP includes the complete data from “Familien in Deutschland” (Families in Germany, FiD) which has been retrospectively integrated into the SOEP and made available in user-friendly form to all SOEP users. The FiD survey has been carried out in parallel to the SOEP as a so-called “SOEP-related study” from 2010 to 2013. The survey is constantly being adapted and developed in response to current social developments. The international version contains 95% of all cases surveyed (see 10.5684/soep.v32i).

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 113,840
 Number of variables 61,902 in 413 data sets
 Data format STATA, SPSS, SAS, CSV

MD5 fingerprints

Distribution format
zip file
all files
Stata bilingual 76ac7dacaf663934cc1511b08e3510d3   (TXT, 18.11 KB)
Stata German 088df0e5419d73f66d25b37ff6a41488   (TXT, 18.11 KB)
Stata English d7f41baeeaffcbd8083f431a60860de5   (TXT, 18.11 KB)
SPSS German 829d6893bc7ae8bb636158f13cc5dd6b   (TXT, 18.11 KB)
SPSS English 48f1d9ef7314c38084f1ebe436b6ff39   (TXT, 18.11 KB)
SAS German cac3ec7ccaa11e4484dbc4ed3eec8fcc   (TXT, 20.23 KB)
SAS English 52c77d38b5fd8d57ab2575591ac698ae   (TXT, 20.23 KB)
CSV dc3497a6af769753cd7c31a8ff93f3b0   (TXT, 18.11 KB)
GGKBOU 0dd7977b178723ce512499d4bf7bb578   (TXT, 140 Byte)
GGKBOU English d6aa5c401047e51f7877818ffc202453   (TXT, 140 Byte)
Teaching version
Stata German (teaching) 020aa097295e452dd884992cd980a6ab  
Stata English (teaching) 4f08c9219fa5beb1df09bdcb2278b339  
SPSS German (teaching) 08c54677b3640b725ddca5fe5fcab5e9  
SPSS English (teaching) dd0c9903f53587be4b444dd228af0a6a  
SAS German (teaching) 8fd89a198861ff7ae6f9d73413fd2d75  
SAS English (teaching) 190d3260961cae7d9fcbcecf1ff4b8c9  


  • 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. 
more information

Online documentation and updates

Version specific changes in the dataset.

Documentation of
Sample Sizes and Panel Attrition 1984-2015

$HGEN (Household-related Status and Generated Variables)
$PGEN (Person-related Status and Generated Variables)

$KIND (Person-related Variables on Children)

HPFAD (Household-related Meta-dataset)
PPFAD (Person-related Meta-dataset)

KIDLONG (Pooled Dataset on Children)