Research Data Center of the SOEP

We are delighted that you have found out about the SOEP data, and would like to briefly describe our services to you.

The SOEP microdata set is not available on the internet due to German data protection regulations.

The SOEP data are distributed through our "Research Data Center of the SOEP".

As a special service, the Research Data Center of the SOEP advises scholars who want to use SOEP as reference data or a control sample for their own studies.

The RDC-SOEP complies with the criteria of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) for providing access to microdata within a research data infrastructure. Since July 2016 you can file complaints regarding problems with the data distribution according to this criterias at the RatSWD (more information in German).

Conditions for obtaining the data

  • The SOEP data can only be used for scientific research purposes.
  • Any analysis of the anonymized microdata set has to be carried out by youself. Personally-good knowledge of SPSS, STATA, SAS or comparable programs is necessary.
  • The most important precondition: Users both within and outside the EEA-countries are required to sign a data distribution contract, which you can request with a form. If you are a PhD/doctoral/undergraduate student, the professor advising you would have to sign this contract.
    The content of the contract can be seen in our sample contract/within EU.
    If someone of your institution has already signed a contract with us, and you use the data for a new project, please report the additional use to

nach oben


  • The contract is free.
  • Within the EEA: the current SOEP dataset including all waves with German and English labels is available for downloading free of charge via a password-encrypted private key.
  • Outside the EEA: Under the provisions of German data protection law, users outside the EEA are only permitted to use a reduced SOEP dataset (see Scientific Use File). The reduced SOEP dataset (95% version) is also available for downloading free of charge via a password-encrypted private key.
  • The CNEF data can be obtained from Ohio State University using our worldwide order form. There you have to pay $125 (USD) for the first time use. Further information can be obtained by contacting
  • If you have any questions or need further information, please contact the SOEPhotline at either or +49 30 89789-292.

nach oben

Starting a new project

At the beginning of a project, we urge you to use our information system The "item correspondence list" is integrated into the search function there, so you can trace the information you need ("items") over the years. Furthermore, after registrating on the portal you can use a file generator, writing a command syntax for the selected variables in the statistic programs SPSS, R and Stata.

nach oben