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Metadata for Official Statistics

Microcensus Panel 2001-2004

The Microcensus is designed as a rotating panel sample, in which households in a sampling district are surveyed for four years, with a quarter of the sampling districts being replaced each year. Individuals and households that move out of their home are replaced by those that move in.

With the completion of the joint project "Aufbereitung und Bereitstellung des Mikrozensus als Panelstichprobe" (“Processing and Provision of the Microcensus as a Panel Sample") funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG), a Microcensus panel has been available to researchers as a Scientific Use File since September 2006, analogous to the Microcensus cross-sectional files. Even the selection of the rotation quarter of the Microcensus, which was only surveyed from 2001 to 2004 , has a very large number of cases, particularly compared to panel data collected for research purposes. This allows to analyse economic and social structures and their changes in more detail, to make reliable statements even for small population groups, and to observe social and economic change in a more differentiated way than before.

The Microcensus has been conducted in West Germany since 1957 and in the new federal states since 1991, with a sampling fraction of 1% of the population. The basis of the Microcensus is the entire resident population in Germany.

Since 1962, the Microcensus has been an area sample with partial rotation of the sampling districts (areas). The sampling districts, along with the households and persons living in them, remain in the survey for four years, forming a so-called rotation quarter. Each year, a quarter of the sampling districts are exchanged, so that data are available for a maximum of four years. Due to the principle of area sampling, households and individuals moving out of the sampling districts are not further surveyed, but are replaced by households and persons moving in. The Microcensus is therefore a repeated survey with partial overlap of the survey units (partial rotation). The possibility of merging the cross-sectional data into a panel has been legally possible since the Microcensus Act of 1996.

The second Scientific Use File (SUF) of the Microcensus Panel 2001-2004, created by the Federal Statistical Office, Group VIII C – Microcensus, corresponds largely to the concept of the Microcensus Panel 1996-1999.

For analysis, a quarter of the sampling districts of the Microcensus cross-sections are available over four years. The SUF is a 70% subsample of these sampling districts. The sample size of the panel for 2001-2004 is about 125,000 individuals or 58,000 households per survey year, covering about 400 variables. Due to the reporting obligation in the Microcensus, nearly complete coverage is achieved, so that systematic failures due to unit non-response are of minor importance. Information on all surveys is available for about two-thirds of the (spatially immobile) individuals.

The Scientific Use File (SUF) of the Microcensus Panel 2001-2004 is, analogous to the first Microcensus Panel (see Table 3.1, pp. 64-65 in the Microcensus Panel 1996-1999 Handbook), a random selection from the stratified original material of the Microcensus Panel. Unlike the first panel file, the Microcensus Panel 2001-2004 also includes the population in community accommodations.

The panel file essentially includes all features of the Scientific Use Files (SUFs) of the individual cross-sections (see Survey Program of the Microcensus 1996-2004) and covers various thematic areas, including:

  • Demographics
  • Employment participation, job search
  • School/university attendance, educational attainment
  • Income, livelihood
  • Household and family relationships

For data protection reasons, the characteristics of the subsample for the years 2001 and 2004 are not included.

Several weighting variables are available, including:

  • Extrapolation variables from the original Microcensus
  • Adjusted extrapolation variables for cross-sectional analyses
  • Normalized adjusted extrapolation variables for cross-sectional analyses
  • Mobility weights (probability of spatial immobility)
  • Longitudinal weights for extrapolation without considering mobility weights
  • Longitudinal weights for extrapolation considering mobility weights
  • [Note: The mobility and longitudinal weights may not contain valid values in some cases and are therefore only partially usable. A correction by the Federal Statistical Office is planned (Status: April 2010)].
Access conditions

The Microcensus Scientific Use Files can be ordered from the research data centres of the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the Länder for a provision fee. The provision fee for the Microcensus Panel is 1000 euros (per statistic and survey period 250 euros x 4 survey periods). Discounts are granted under certain conditions for doctoral candidates and students.

Researchers authorised to access and use the data must be specially obliged to comply with data protection regulations. This special obligation usually applies to public service employees (universities); otherwise it has to be carried out by the Statistical Offices. In addition, the institution/researcher receiving the data must implement special technical and organizational data security measures.

It must be stated that due to legal reasons (according to § 16, Abs. 6 - 8 BStatG), the anonymized individual data cannot be circulated to institutions beyond the Federal Republic of Germany. Microcensus guidelines restrict the place of data usage to Germany. However, foreign researchers, under approved, special circumstances, have the opportunity to work with the data at the Federal Statistical Office and the Statistical Offices of the Länder or via remote execution.


Standard list of data protection measures .pdf

Data Supply & Application

Available data
Data Access

The materials are only available in German.


Manual of the Microcensus Panel 2001-2004 (Ed.: Federal Statistical Office, Group VIII C, Microcensus, Bonn) [.pdf]

Index of variables

Index of the factually anonymised Microcensus Panel 2001-2004 [.pdf]

Survey program

Erhebungsprogramm 1996-2004 (in the MZ panel 1996-1999 without the supplementary and additional programme of the year 2001 and 2004)

  • Main field of study for (academic) university degree or vocational qualification for the Microcensus - Edition 2003 - (HFR 2003) in connection with training fields of the International Standard Classification of Education - Edition 1997 - (ISCED 97); Federal Statistical Office) [.pdf]
  • Classification of occupations by the Federal Statistical Office in the version for the Microcensus, Edition 1992 [.pdf]
  • International Standard Classification of Occupations for use within the European Community (International Standard Classification of Occupation - Establishment of Community-Wide Occupational Statistics) ISCO-88 COM [.pdf]
  • Systematic directory of economic sectors in the version for the Microcensus - Edition 2003 [.pdf]
  • Schimpl-Neimanns, Bernhard (2008): Bildungsverläufe und Stichprobenselektivität. Analysen zur Stichprobenselektivität des Mikrozensuspanels 1996-1999 am Beispiel bildungsstatistischer Fragestellungen. GESIS-Forschungsberichte, Reihe Sozialwissenschaftliche Datenanalyse, Band 1. ISBN 978-3-86819-003-8. Bonn: GESIS. [Link]
  • Schimpl-Neimanns, Bernhard (2006): Auszug aus dem Elternhaus: Ergebnisse Mikrozensuspanel 1996-1999. ZUMA-Arbeitsbericht 2006/04.
  • Schimpl-Neimanns, Bernhard (2006): Zur Datenqualität der Bildungsangaben im Mikrozensus. ZUMA-Arbeitsbericht 2006/03.
  • Schimpl-Neimanns, Bernhard (2006): Berufliche Ausbildungsverläufe bis zum Übergang ins Erwerbsleben – Analysen zur Stichprobenselektivität des Mikrozensuspanels 1996-1999. ZUMA-Arbeitsbericht 2006/02.
  • Schimpl-Neimanns, Bernhard (2006): Filekonzept zum Mikrozensuspanel. Methodenverbund "Aufbereitung und Bereitstellung des Mikrozensus als Panelstichprobe", Arbeitspapier Nr. 12.
  • Schimpl-Neimanns, Bernhard (2005): Bildungsverläufe im Mikrozensuspanel 1996-1999: Besuch der gymnasialen Oberstufe bis zum Abitur. ZUMA-Arbeitsbericht 2005/02.
  • Wirth, Heike (2006): Anonymisierung des Mikrozensuspanels im Kontext der Bereitstellung als Scientific-Use-File. Methodenverbund "Aufbereitung und Bereitstellung des Mikrozensus als Panelstichprobe", Arbeitspapier Nr. 11.