SOEP-Core Data Distribution 1984-2017 (soep.v34)

SOEP-Core version 34

Title: Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), data from 1984-2017

DOI: 10.5684/soep.v34
Collection period: 1984-2017
Publication date: 2019-03-05
Principal investigators: Stefan Liebig, Jan Goebel, Carsten Schröder, Jürgen Schupp, Charlotte Bartels, Alexandra Fedorets, Andreas Franken, Marco Giesselmann, Markus Grabka, Jannes Jacobsen, Selin Kara, Peter Krause, Hannes Kröger, Martin Kroh, Maria Metzing, Janine Napieraj, Jana Nebelin, David Richter, Diana Schacht, Paul Schmelzer, Christian Schmitt, Daniel Schnitzlein, Rainer Siegers, Knut Wenzig, Stefan Zimmermann

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. Two samples of refugees were introduced in 2016. Further new samples were added in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. 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.v34i).

Data collector: Kantar Public Germany

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.)


  • Jan Goebel, Markus M. Grabka, Stefan Liebig, Martin Kroh, David Richter, Carsten Schröder, Jürgen Schupp (2019): The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik / Journal of Economics and Statistics 239 (2), 345-360 (download)
  • 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).


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

SOEPcompanion v34 online

SOEPcompanion (v34) | PDF, 4.86 MB

Sample Size and Panel Attrition SOEP-Core v34 | PDF, 2.49 MB

Supplementary | PDF, 2.27 MB of the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in Germany (M5) 2017


1) Metadata-based questionnaires with reference to variables

Samples A-L3
Individual (PAPI) | PDF, 367.12 KB
Household (PAPI) | PDF, 242.01 KB
Catch-Up Individual | PDF, 173.77 KB
Biography | PDF, 251.15 KB

Pre-teen (11-12-year-olds) | PDF, 202.89 KB
Early Youth (13-14-year-olds) | PDF, 207.79 KB
Youth (16-17-year-olds, PAPI) | PDF, 269.08 KB

Mother and Child (Newborns) | PDF, 169.09 KB
Mother and Child (2-3-year-olds) | PDF, 169.6 KB
Mother and Child (5-6-year-olds) | PDF, 169.06 KB
Parents and Child (7-8-year-olds) | PDF, 170.89 KB
Mother and Child (9-10-year-olds) | PDF, 185.35 KB

Deceased Individual | PDF, 164.32 KB

Samples M1/M2

Individual and Biography (Initial Interview, M1/M2) | PDF, 485.66 KB
Individual (Follow-Up, M1/M2) | PDF, 367.62 KB
Household (M1/M2) | PDF, 242.88 KB

Samples M3-M5

Individual and Biography (Initial Interview, M3-M5) | PDF, 0.56 MB
Individual and Biography (Follow-Up, M3/M4) | PDF, 509.76 KB

Household (M3/M4) | PDF, 232.15 KB
Household (M5) | PDF, 214.34 KB

Youth (12-17-year-olds, M3/M4) | PDF, 340.57 KB
Childhood (0-10-years-olds, M3/M4) | PDF, 321.99 KB

2) Original Questionnaires

Samples A-L3

Individual | PDF, 1 MB (German and English)
Household | PDF, 0.9 MB (German and English)
Biography | PDF, 1.13 MB (German only)
Catch up Individual | PDF, 515.85 KB (German only)

Mother and Child (newborn | PDF, 0.65 MB ; German only)
Mother and Child (2-3-year-olds | PDF, 0.7 MB ; German only)
Mother and Child (5-6-year-olds | PDF, 0.6 MB ; German only)
Parents and Child (7-8-year-olds | PDF, 0.58 MB ; German only)
Mother and Child (9-10-year-olds | PDF, 0.7 MB ; German only)

Pre-teen (11-12-year-olds | PDF, 0.87 MB ; German only)
Early Teen (13-14-year-olds | PDF, 0.87 MB , German only)
Youth (16-17-year-olds | PDF, 0.64 MB , German only)

Deceased Person | PDF, 446.06 KB (German only)

IAB-SOEP Migration Samples M1, M2

Individual (continued sample) | PDF, 1.63 MB (German and English)
Individual and Biography (new respondents since 2016) | PDF, 1.5 MB (German and English)
Household | PDF, 1.4 MB (German and English)

Youth | PDF, 0.77 MB (German only)

IAB-BAMF-SOEP-Samples M3-M5 (refugee samples)

Please refer to the questionnaires with variables (see above).

The questionnaires of all the previous waves can be found here.