Demographic Differences in Life Course Dynamics in Eastern and Western Germany (DemoDiff)

Kreyenfeld, Michaela; Goldstein, Joshua; Walke, Rainer; Trappe, Heike; Huinink, Johannes
This survey is now fully integrated in pairfam. Complementary Study to the German Family Panel (pairfam) Financed by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research,DemoDiff is a longitudinal study that provides prospective andretrospective information for the analysis of fa...
published 2013-11-28, Version 3.1.0

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Demographic Differences in Life Course Dynamics in Eastern and Western Germany (DemoDiff)

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Kreyenfeld, Michaela
Goldstein, Joshua
Walke, Rainer
Trappe, Heike
Huinink, Johannes
Bastin, Sonja
Hensel, Tom
Lenke, Rüdiger
Mir Mousavi, Bibimasoumeh
Salzburger, Veronika
Schnor, Christine
TNS Infratest, Munich



Sampled Universe
Anchor Persons: All German-speaking persons (irrespective of nationality) living in private households in the five New Laender of the former German Democratic Republic (including East Berlin, excluding West Berlin) born within one of the following time periods: • born between 01.01.1981 and 31.12.1983 (Cohort 1) • born between 01.01.1971 and 31.12.1973 (Cohort 2)
Sampling Procedure Comment: DemoDiff is a panel survey of anchor persons with an implemented multi-actor design. In every wave, the respective partners of the anchor persons are interviewed separately. Anchor Persons: The initial sample was drawn using a two-stage sampling procedure. The aim was to represent the two cohorts in equal shares of the total sample: • first stage: municipalities of the five New Laender (including East Berlin, excluding West Berlin) were sampled (using a cost allocation model). • second stage: members of the target population who had their main residence in the selected municipalities were sampled (systematic random sampling on the basis of local population registers). The anchor persons are interviewed annually, using a non-monotonic design (respondents who dropped out in the last wave are re-contacted in the subsequent wave). Partners: The current partner of the anchor person is included in the survey if the anchor person gives consent (irrespective of sex, cohabitation or relationship status). If couples separate between the waves, the ex-partners are not contacted again. Details of the sampling procedures and follow-up strategies are provided in the method reports (available in German language only) and in the DemoDiff manual (see Data and Documents).

Collection Mode

  • Anchor Persons: Face-to-face interview with standardized questionnaire (CAPI and CASI for sensitive topics); incentive of 10€ cash per realized interview Partner: Paper-and-pencil interview with standardized questionnaire (Drop-Off); incentive of 5€ lottery ticket per completed questionnaire


  • Abstract

    This survey is now fully integrated in pairfam. Complementary Study to the German Family Panel (pairfam) Financed by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research,DemoDiff is a longitudinal study that provides prospective andretrospective information for the analysis of family dynamics ineastern Germany. It mainly follows the concept and design of thenationwide German Family Panel study pairfam. Anchor respondents of thebirth cohorts 1971-73 and 1981-83 from eastern Germany (excluding WestBerlin and including East Berlin) and their partners are interviewed onan annual basis. Data from DemoDiff are distributed together with thescientific use file of the German Family Panel. Data access issupervised by the pairfam data research center. The survey program of DemoDiff is broadly in compliance with thepairfam program. This multi-subject study focuses on aspects ofpartnership and family dynamics. 1.) Partnership formation and development 2.) Transition to first and consecutive births 3.) Intergenerational relationships 4.) Parenting and child development Numerous issues from other life domains and demography are alsogathered by the survey. Most of the instruments are utilized eitherannually in each survey wave (core modules) or are rotated every two orevery three years (extended modules). In the main survey, the anchorpersons report - among other things - retrospectively on changesrelated to their partnerships, children, residences, and educationaland occupational career since the last wave (Event History Calendar).The questionnaires for partners are similar to the main survey in termsof topics but differ in length and content. Topics: 1.) Partnership formation and development: Partnership biography sinceage 14 (sex and age of partners, partnership, cohabitation and marriageepisodes by month); Getting to know each other (current partner);Institutionalization of partnership (plans, ambivalence, stages);Sexuality (sexual orientation, frequency of sexual intercourse,satisfaction with sex life); Cohabitation (dwelling, distance betweenplaces of residence); Division of household chores (several activities,fairness); Finances in partnership (bank accounts, living expenses);Quality of partnership (dyadic coping, NRI, conflict styles andbehavior, satisfaction with relationship, subjective instability ofpartnership); Module for singles (satisfaction with situation assingle, interest in partnership, desire for partnership,characteristics of the partner market, subjective chances, broad andin-depth exploration); Separation module (course of separation,problems in partnership, effects on children, emotional distress afterseparation, exposure with separation, custody and alimonyarrangements). 2.) Transition to first and consecutive births: Expectationsconcerning life with children (value of children); Pregnancy (existenceof pregnancy, tried to sire a child/get pregnant, infertility,procreation/measures inducing pregnancy, abortion/miscarriage,hypothetical social support in case of pregnancy); Contraception (use,methods, consistency of use); Social influences on family planning (byfriends and parents); Fertility plans (ideal and realistic number ofchildren, intention to become parent, timing of parenthood, agreementwith partner, willingness to cut back for children, effects of beingparent, parenthood decision making, reasons against children);Preconditions for parenthood (assessment of actual and target state). 3.) Intergenerational relationships: Expectations concerning therelationship to parents (value of parents); Familial norms; Family andpartnership related values; Quality of parent-child-relationship (NRI);Dimensions of intergenerational relationships (frequency of contact,emotional closeness, travel-time distance); Given and received support(emotional, material, instrumental); Nursing (need for care parents,care provider); Leaving parents’ home (age). 4.) Parenting and child development: Child rearing goals; Parentingrole (parental self-efficacy); Co-parenting (problems, problemsolving); Child care (responsible persons, satisfaction with child caresituation); Health of children (in general); Newborn module (delivery,checkups, temperament, unspecific strain). Other life domains: Personality; Well-being (loneliness, self-worth,depressiveness, etc.); Health (general status, handicap, sleep atnight); Importance of life domains (occupation, family, etc.);Satisfaction (with life, school/job, leisure activities, friends,family, financial situation); Network integration (number of friends,network generator); Religiosity (religious denomination, frequency ofchurch visits). Demography: Sex; Age; Marital status; Country of birth andnationality; Number of siblings and relatives; Education (educationcareer, educational attainment); Employment biography (employmentepisodes, occupation, occupational status); Employment situation (workschedule arrangement, temporary employment contract, multiple jobs,conditions at workplace, commuting, maternity/paternity leave,military/civilian service); Income and benefits (current gross and netincome per month, net household income, drawing of social benefits,alimony payment, income on investments, economic deprivation);Residential biography since age 18 (first move out of parents‘ home,places of residence in federal state and country, first and secondplace of residence, moves, type of current household, ownership ofdwelling, total living space, number of rooms, frequency of overnightstays); Household grid (number of further persons in the household andtheir sex, age, kind of relationship); Information about currentpartner (date of birth, country of birth and nationality, education,occupation, job position, children from earlier relationships, place ofresidence); Information about children (number, sex, date of birth,status, cohabitation, contact, second parent, health status, childcare); Information about biological parents and stepparents (date ofbirth, whether still alive and - if applicable - date of death, countryof birth and nationality, highest level of education and vocationaltraining, marital status, relationship status, cohabitation, old andnew partnership). As a supplement to the German Family Panel, DemoDiff gathersadditional information on the respondent’s partnership status whengiving birth. The data also contain information on the place of birthof the respondent; i.e. whether he/she is born in eastern or westernGermany. Additionally coded: Duration of interview; date of interview;identification of interviewer; size of city; weighting factor.


Essentially, DemoDiff is a supplementary sample of the German Family Panel pairfam. The data, which are compatible in terms of content, are collected from anchor persons of the two birth cohorts 1971-73 and 1981-83 residing in the eastern New Laender of Germany as well as from their respective partners. DemoDiff is part of the project “Life-Course Dynamics in Eastern and Western Germany”, which was launched by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. The first DemoDiff survey wave was realized in 2009/2010, or one year after the first wave of the German Family Panel. The second survey wave was carried out in 2010/2011 including modules of the second and the third waves of pairfam. Accordingly, the following wave from 2011/2012 is synchronized with the pairfam survey. Starting with the fifth wave, DemoDiff will be continued within the scope of pairfam and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Further information on DemoDiff is provided by Michaela Kreyenfeld (Email: as well as by the user support at the pairfam research data center (Email:


Temporal Coverage

  • 2009-11 / 2010-03
    Wave 1: with instruments of the first pairfam wave
  • 2010-10 / 2011-04
    Wave 2/3: with instruments of the second and third pairfam wave
  • 2011-11 / 2012-04
    Wave 4: with instruments of the fourth pairfam wave

Geographic Coverage

  • Berlin (DE-BE)
  • Brandenburg (DE-BB)
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (DE-MV)
  • Saxony (DE-SN)
  • Saxony-Anhalt (DE-ST)
  • Thuringia (DE-TH)


Alternative Identifiers

  • ZA5684 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • pairfam (Type: FDZ)

Related Identifiers

  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/demodiff.5684.3.0.0
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/demodiff.5684.2.0.0


  • Kreyenfeld, Michaela, Johannes Huinink, Heike Trappe und Rainer Walke: DemoDiff: A Dataset for the Study of Family Change in Eastern (and Western) Germany. In: Schmollers Jahrbuch 2012, Vol. 132, No. 4: 653-660

Update Metadata: 2022-03-31 | Issue Number: 26 | Registration Date: 2013-12-12