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Series: EU-SILC

Titles

Title European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions

Abstract

"The European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) is an instrument aiming at collecting timely and comparable cross-sectional and longitudinal multidimensional microdata on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions. This instrument is anchored in the European Statistical System (ESS)." (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/european-union-statistics-on-income-and-living-conditions)

"It provides two types of annual data:

  • Cross-sectional data pertaining to a given time or a certain time period with variables on income, poverty, social exclusion and other living conditions, and
  • Longitudinal data pertaining to individual-level changes over time, observed periodically over a four-year period.

[…]
The cross-sectional data is collected in two stages:

  • An early subset of variables collected by register or interview to assess as early as possible poverty trends.
  • A full set of variables provided along with the longitudinal data to produce main key policy indicators on social cohesion.

The Longitudinal data is aimed at identifying the incidence and dynamic processes of the persistence of poverty and social exclusion among subgroups in the population. The longitudinal component is more limited in sample size compared to the cross-sectional component. Furthermore, for any given set of individuals, micro-level changes are followed up only for a limited duration, such as a period of four years.
For both the cross-sectional and longitudinal components, all household and personal data are linkable. Furthermore, modules providing updated information in the field of social exclusion are included from 2005 (a different module is implemented each year) and collected along with the early limited subset of cross-sectional variables." (Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 14).

"In terms of the units involved, four types of data are involved in EU-SILC:
(i) Variables measured at the household level;
(ii) Information on household size and composition and basic characteristics of household members;
(iii) Income and other more complex variables termed ‘basic variables’ (education, basic labour information and second job) measured at the personal level, but normally aggregated to construct household-level variables; and
(iv) Variables collected and analysed at the person-level ‘the detailed variables’(health, access to health care, detailed labour information, activity history and calendar of activities’)." (Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 25).

Data Version

Data Publisher

  • Eurostat

Keywords

  • Economics
    • Consumption / Consumer Behaviour
    • Economic Conditions and Indicators
    • Income, Property and Investment / Saving
  • Labour and Employment
    • Employment
    • Unemployment
    • Working Conditions
  • Education
    • Basic Skills Education
    • Vocational Education
  • Health
    • General Health
    • Health Care and Medical Treatment
  • Housing and Land Use Planning
    • Housing
  • Social Stratification and Groupings
    • Children
    • Elderly
    • Equality and Inequality
    • Family Life and Marriage
    • Social and Occupational Mobility
    • Social Exclusion
  • Society and Culture
    • Cultural Activities and Participation
    • Social Conditions and Indicators
  • Demography and Population
    • Migration

Processing

Geographical Coverage

"EU-SILC was launched in 2003 on the basis of a gentlemen's agreement between Eurostat and six Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg) and Norway. It was formally launched in 2004 in fifteen countries and expanded in 2005 to cover all of the then EU-25 Member States, together with Norway and Iceland. Bulgaria launched EU-SILC in 2006 while Romania, Switzerland and Turkey introduced the survey in 2007." (Eurostat: Statistics Explained)

Three further countries, i.e. Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia, are in test implementation.

National territories that may be excluded from EU-SILC:
France: French Overseas Departments and territories.
Netherlands: The West Frisian Islands with the exception of Texel.
Ireland: All offshore islands with the exception of Achill, Bull, Cruit, Gorumna, Inishnee, Lettermore, Lettermullan and Valentia.
United kingdom: Scotland north of the Caledonian Canal, the Scilly Islands. (Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 16).

Organization

The cross-sectional and the longitudinal data are produced annually. EU-SILC data are collected by National Statistical Institutes. According to article 10 ‘Transmission of data’ and Article 12 ‘Access for scientific purposes to EU-SILC confidential data‘ of the Framework Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning Community statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC): Member States shall transmit to the Commission (Eurostat) in the form of micro-data files weighted cross-sectional and longitudinal data which has been fully checked, edited and imputed in relation to income.

"The target variables will be sent to EUROSTAT in four different files:
1. Household Register (D)
2. Personal Register (R)
3. Household Data (H)
4. Personal Data (P)

The household register file (D) must contain every selected household, including those where the address could not be contacted or those households could not be interviewed.

In the other files, records related to a household will only exist if the household has been contacted AND has a completed household interview in the household data file (H) and at least one member has complete data in the personal data file (P). This member must be the selected respondent if this mode of selection is used.

The personal register file (R) must contain a record for every person currently living in the household or temporarily absent. In the longitudinal component it must also contain a record for every person registered in the R-file of the previous year or who has lived in the household for at least three months during the income reference method.

The personal data file (P) must contain a record for every eligible person for whom the information could be completed from interview and/or registers."
(Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 60)

 

Universe

The reference population of EU-SILC is defined as all private households and all persons aged 16 and over within the household residing in the territory of the Member States at the time of data collection. Persons living in collective households and in institutions are generally excluded from the target population. For practical reasons, small parts of the national territory may also not be covered in the survey (see geographical coverage).

Sampling

"According to the Commission Regulation on sampling and tracing rules, the selection of the sample will be drawn according to the following requirements:
1. For all components of EU-SILC (whether survey or register based), the crosssectional and longitudinal (initial sample) data shall be based on a nationally representative probability sample of the population residing in private households within the country, irrespective of language, nationality or legal residence status. All private households and all persons aged 16 and over within the household are eligible for the operation.
2. Representative probability samples shall be achieved both for households, which form the basic units of sampling, data collection and data analysis, and for individual persons in the target population.
3. The sampling frame and methods of sample selection shall ensure that every individual and household in the target population is assigned a known and non-zero probability of selection.
4. By way of exception, paragraphs 1 to 3 shall apply in Germany exclusively to the part of the sample based on probability sampling according to Article 8 of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EC) No 1177/2003 concerning Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions.

Article 8 of the EU-SILC Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council mentions:
1. The cross-sectional and longitudinal data shall be based on nationally representative probability samples.
2. By way of exception to paragraph 1, Germany shall supply cross-sectional data based on a nationally representative probability sample for the first time for the year 2008. For the year 2005, Germany shall supply data for one fourth based on probability sampling and for three fourths based on quota samples, the latter to be progressively replaced by random selection so as to achieve fully representative probability sampling by 2008.
For the longitudinal component, Germany shall supply for the year 2006 one third of longitudinal data (data for year 2005 and 2006) based on probability sampling and two thirds based on quota samples. For the year 2007, half of the longitudinal data relating to years 2005, 2006 and 2007 shall be based on probability sampling and half on quota sample. After 2007 all of the longitudinal data shall be based on probability sampling."
(Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 24)

THE INTEGRATED DESIGN:
"[T]he cross-sectional and longitudinal data can come from separate sources, i.e., the longitudinal dataset does not need to be “linkable” with the cross-sectional dataset at the micro-level. Of course, such linkage is not precluded, and would normally be possible when the two types of data come from the same source. Depending on the country, micro-data could come from:
- two or more national sources (surveys and/or registers);
- one or more existing national sources combined or not with a new survey;
- a new harmonised survey to meet all EU-SILC requirements.
The only constraint is that for both, the cross-sectional and longitudinal components, all household and personal data will be linkable.
An integrated design ( ‘the rotational design’) for those countries that launched a new survey was proposed by Eurostat.
Rotational design refers to the sample selection based on a number of subsamples or replications, each of them similar in size and design and representative of the whole population. From one year to the next, some replications are retained, while others are dropped and replaced by new replications.
The fundamental characteristic of the integrated design is that the cross-sectional and longitudinal statistics are produced from essentially the same set of sample observations, thus avoiding unnecessary duplications which entirely separate cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys will involve."
(Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 16)

Data Collection

EU-SILC data are collected by National Statistical Institutes. The EU-SILC Regulation allows some degree of flexibility to countries regarding the mode of data collection. The information can be either extracted from registers or collected from interviews.

In case of interviews, five modes of data collection are possible:
1. Face-to-face personal interview (PAPI)
2. Face-to-face personal interview (CAPI)
3. Telephone interview (CATI)
4. Self-administered by respondent
5. Proxy interview

"In the EU-SILC legal basis, priority is given to face-to-face personal interviews (PAPI or CAPI) over the other modes of data collection.
For the countries where a sample of persons as opposed to a sample of addresses/households is selected, i.e. in the 'registers' countries, the systematic use of telephone interviews has been allowed on a gentlemen's agreement basis. This has been possible as the interview duration is much shorter in this situation given that part of the information is extracted from registers.
It is only under special circumstances (absence, illness, incapacity, ...) where the individual is unable to directly provide the requested information through personal interview, that a personal interview with another member of the household (proxy), a telephone interview with the individual or a self-administration of the questionnaire by the respondent are the recommended methods.
Proxy interviews are especially to be avoided for both income variables, health and detailed labour information.
If the information is carried out through personal interview with another member of the household or is self-administered by respondent, the interviewer, if possible, should try to arrange a later interview with that person or, if it is not possible, to contact him/her by phone in order to check the information provided in the questionnaire.
In the case that a proxy interview is carried out, the identification number of the person who has provided the information has to be recorded."
(Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 77)

SURVEY DURATION AND TIME:
"The following rules about survey duration and time are laid down in the CR on fieldwork aspects and imputation procedures.
1. The interval between the end of the income reference period and the time of the interview for the respondent concerned shall be limited to 8 months as far as possible. This applies both to the household and personal samples, and irrespective of whether the reference period used is fixed in terms of calendar dates for the whole sample or is a moving reference period determined according to the timing of the interview for the household or person concerned.
2. By way of exception to paragraph 1, if the income variables are collected from registers the interval between the end of the income reference period and the time of interview for current variables shall be limited to 12 months.
3. Where all the data are collected through field interviewing and a fixed income reference period is used, the total duration of the data collection of the sample shall be limited to 4 months as far as possible.
4. Where the data are collected through field interviewing using a moving income reference period and the fieldwork duration exceeds 3 months, the total annual sample shall be shared approximately equally between the fieldwork months. In this case, the total fieldwork duration for the cross-sectional component and each wave of the longitudinal component shall not exceed 12 months.
5. For the longitudinal component, the collection or compilation of data, for a given unit (household or person), between successive waves shall be kept as close as possible to 12 months.”
(Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 29)

Legal Basis

"The introduction of a legal act for EU-SILC was decided by the Directors of social statistics in June 2000. A framework regulation (regulation (EC) n° 1177/2003) was adopted by the Council and European Parliament on 16 June 2003 and published in the Official Journal on 3 July 2003.
Following the successive EU enlargements, this regulation was amended by regulation (EC) n° 1553/2005 of 7 September 2005 and regulation (EC) n° 1791/2006 of 20 November 2006.
In parallel, Eurostat and the MS developed the technical aspects of the instrument.

Practically, the five following Commission regulations implementing the framework regulation were elaborated:

  • Definitions: regulation (EC) n°1980/2003 of 21 October 2003, amended by regulation (EC) n° 676/2006) of 2 May 2006;
  • Fieldwork aspects and imputation procedures: regulation (EC) n°1981/2003 of 21 October 2003;
  • Sampling and tracing rules: regulation (EC) n°1982/2003 of 21 October 2003;
  • List of target primary variables: regulation (EC) n°1983/2003 of 21 October 2003;
  • Content of intermediate and final quality reports: regulation (EC) n° 28/2004 of 5 January 2004.

In addition, every year a Commission regulation describing the list of secondary target variables (annual modules) is published. At the time of writing this document, the following regulation have been published:

  • Module 2005 on the list of target secondary variables relating to the intergenerational transmission of poverty: Commission Regulation (EC) N° 16/2004 of 6 January 2004;
  • Module 2006 on the list of target secondary variables relating to social participation: Commission Regulation (EC) N° 13/2005 of 6 January 2005;
  • Module 2007 on the list of target secondary variables relating to housing conditions: Commission Regulation (EC) N° 315/2006 of 22 February 2006;
  • Module 2008 on the list of target secondary variables relating to over-indebtedness and financial exclusion: Commission Regulation (EC) N° 215/2007of 28 February 2007;
  • Module 2009 on the list of target secondary variables relating to material deprivation: Commission Regulation (EC) N° 362/2008 of 14 April 2008.
  • Module 2010 on the list of target secondary variables relating to intra-household sharing of resources: Commission Regulation (EC) N° 646/2009 of 23 July 2009.
  • Module 2011 on the list of target secondary variables relating to intergenerational transmission of disadvantages: Commission Regulation (EU) N° 481/2010 of 1 June 2010.
  • Module 2012 on the list of target secondary variables relating to housing conditions: Commission Regulation (EU) N° 1157/2010 of 9 December 2010.
  • Module 2013 on the list of target secondary variables relating to wellbeing: Commission Regulation (EU) N° 62/2012 of 24 January 2012.)"

(Eurostat: DESCRIPTION OF TARGET VARIABLES: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal. 2013 operation (Version May 2013), p. 13f.)

Data Access

Access Conditions

The current legal framework enables access to anonymised microdata available at Eurostat only for scientific purposes (Commission Regulations (EU) 557/2013; (EC) No 1104/2006; (EC) No 1000/2007; Council Regulation 322/97), however the access is restricted to universities, research institutes, national statistical institutes, central banks inside the EU, as well as to the European Central Bank. Individuals cannot be granted direct data access.

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/overview

Access Form

Access Contact

estat-microdata-access@ec.europa.eu

Data Service

German Microdata Lab (GML), GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences

Person to contact: Heike Wirth (heike.wirth@gesis.org)

Comparability

Comparability between Countries

The comparability in EU-SILC instrument is ensured by the conceptual harmonisation of target variables obtained through their detailed definition (income components …) as provided in EU-SILC regulations and through the active role of Eurostat coordinating and supporting implementation. EU-SILC pertains to the so called ex ante output harmonization model. Explicit deviation from these commonly agreed standards was allowed to a limited extend but are monitored through quality report that are transmitted to Eurostat.

Notes

References