Access to the SOEP data


Data distribution and preconditions

  • The SOEP data can only be used for scientific research purposes.
  • Any analysis of the anonymized microdata set has to be carried out by you personally—this requires sound knowledge of SPSS, STATA, SAS or comparable programs.
  • The most important precondition: All users, both within the EEA (and Switzerland) and outside these countries, are required to sign a data distribution contract. You can apply for a contract using the “Application data distribution contract” | PDF, 145.07 KB at right under “Forms”. If you are a student (PhD, doctoral, or undergraduate), the professor advising you would have to sign this contract.
  • If the professor advising you has already signed a data distribution contract with us, please use the attached form “Addendum to an Existing Data Distribution Contract” | PDF, 210.52 KB or send an email to: .

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The contract is free of charge. 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. The contract is free of charge.

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). This data is available for downloading free of charge via a password-encrypted private key from RDC SOEP.

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Order data

If you already have signed a data distribution contract, please order SOEP data with our order form. Due to security considerations, the data will be sent via personalized encrypted download or via certified mail.

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Statistical series based on SOEP data

We got data series for the years 1984 to now - disaggregated for East and West Germany since 1990 - for households and persons. The SOEPmonitor Haushalt especially provides information about housing conditions; in the SOEPmonitor Personen you will find classification numbers for labour market, education, income and subjective indicators (documents in German).

The data report published by the German Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) contains some publications concerning living conditions and their ratings on the basis of SOEP data (e.g. Statistisches Bundesamt (Hg.) (2008): Datenreport 2008. Ein Sozialbericht für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Available via internet at the publications of Destatis or at publications of GESIS.

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Using SOEP data for expert reports

Expert reports for third parties using SOEP data can be written, but a user fee applies. Please contact SOEP Director .

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Contract analyses

If you would like to commission work or special analyses from DIW Berlin, please contact the head of the SOEP . provides an overview of the contents of the data set and frequencies of variables.

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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, using a file generator, you can write a command syntax for the selected variables in the statistic programs SPSS, SAS, and Stata (so far available only in the old version of SOEPinfo). For helpful hints, please access the user guide and/or create your own user profile.

Introductory courses in using SOEP data

The SOEP group generally holds introductory courses at DIW Berlin in the spring. These are announced well ahead of time in the SOEPnewsletter; you can also obtain registration forms there.

The Documentation offers an introduction to analysis with SOEP data. Especially the core of SOEP documentation, the Desktop Companion (DTC) can be accessed there. For participation in a SOEP workshop, working through the DTC thoroughly is required, as well as knowledge of one of the statistics software packages supported by the SOEP group (mainly SPSS, STATA, SAS).

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Scientific Use File

In order to allow access to the SOEP data for researchers outside the EEA-countries, the data set must be reduced due to German stipulations regarding data protection. The SOEP Scientific Use File is a 95% random variable sample, which means that 5% of the households surveyed in the first wave of a sample have been removed. It is not problematic to carry out longitudinal analyses with these data. The process does not distort the results; sample errors are, of course, larger than in the 100% data set due to the smaller number of cases.

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