Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), data from 1984-2015

Resource Type
  • Schupp, Jürgen
  • Goebel, Jan
  • Kroh, Martin
  • Schröder, Carsten
  • Bartels, Charlotte
  • Erhardt, Klaudia
  • Fedorets, Alexandra
  • Grabka, Markus
  • Giesselmann, Marco
  • Krause, Peter
  • Kuehne, Simon
  • Richter, David
  • Siegers, Rainer
  • Schmelzer, Paul
  • Schmitt, Christian
  • Schnitzlein, Daniel
  • Wenzig, Knut
  • Schacht, Diana
  • Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin)
Publication Date
Publication Place
  • TNS Infratest Sozialforschung GmbH (Data Collector)
  • GESIS:
    • Social Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Social Security
    • Psychology
    • Sociology of Education
  • SOEP Schema:
    • Economy
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Empirical educational research
    • Psychology
Free Keywords
Political Attitudes and Behavior; Work and Industry; Occupation; Profession; Income; Society; Culture; Family; Education; School Systems; Leisure
  • Abstract

    The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study is a wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households, located at the German Institute for Economic Research, DIW Berlin. Every year, there were nearly 15,000 households, and more than 25,000 persons sampled by the fieldwork organization TNS Infratest Sozialforschung. The data provide information on all household members, consisting of Germans living in the Eastern and Western German States, foreigners, and immigrants to Germany. The Panel was started in 1984. Some of the many topics include household composition, occupational biographies, employment, earnings, health and satisfaction indicators. As early as June 1990—even before the Economic, Social and Monetary Union—SOEP expanded to include the states of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), thus seizing the rare opportunity to observe the transformation of an entire society. Also immigrant samples were added in 1994/95 and 2013/2015 to account for the changes that took place in Germany society. Further new samples were added in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Since Version 31 (10.5684/soep.v31) the SOEP includes the complete data from “Familien in Deutschland” (Families in Germany, FiD) which has been retrospectively integrated into the SOEP and made available in user-friendly form to all SOEP users. The FiD survey has been carried out in parallel to the SOEP as a so-called “SOEP-related study” from 2010 to 2013. The survey is constantly being adapted and developed in response to current social developments. The international version contains 95% of all cases surveyed (see 10.5684/soep.v32i).

Temporal Coverage
  • 1984 / 2015
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany (DE)
Sampled Universe

Persons living in private households in Germany


All samples of SOEP are multi-stage random samples which are regionally clustered. The respondents (households) are selected by random-walk.

Time Dimension
  • Longitudinal: Panel
Collection Mode
  • The interview methodology of the SOEP is based on a set of pre-tested questionnaires for households and individuals. Principally an interviewer tries to obtain face-to-face interviews with all members of a given survey household aged 16 years and over. Additionally one person (head of household) is asked to answer a household related questionnaire covering information on housing, housing costs, and different sources of income. This covers also some questions on children in the household up to 16 years of age, mainly concerning attendance at institutions (kindergarten, elementary school, etc.)

  • Face-to-face interview
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Individual
    Number of Units: 113840
    Number of Variables: 61902
    • File Name:
      File Format: CSV
      Data Fingerprint: dc3497a6af769753cd7c31a8ff93f3b0
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: SAS
      Data Fingerprint: cac3ec7ccaa11e4484dbc4ed3eec8fcc
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: SPSS
      Data Fingerprint: 829d6893bc7ae8bb636158f13cc5dd6b
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: Stata
      Data Fingerprint: 76ac7dacaf663934cc1511b08e3510d3
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: Stata
      Data Fingerprint: 088df0e5419d73f66d25b37ff6a41488
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: Stata
      Data Fingerprint: d7f41baeeaffcbd8083f431a60860de5
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: SPSS
      Data Fingerprint: 48f1d9ef7314c38084f1ebe436b6ff39
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: SAS
      Data Fingerprint: 52c77d38b5fd8d57ab2575591ac698ae
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
Number of datasets: 413
Data and documents are only released for academic research and teaching after the data depositor's written authorization.
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.5684/soep.v31
  • Wagner, Gert G.; Goebel, Jan; Krause, Peter; Pischner, Rainer; Sieber, Ingo: Das Sozio-oekonomische Panel (SOEP): Multidisziplinäres Haushaltspanel und Kohortenstudie für Deutschland - Eine Einführung (für neue Datennutzer) mit einem Ausblick (für erfahrene Anwender). In: AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv2008, Volume 4, p. 301-328. (Article)
  • Wagner, Gert G.; Frick, Joachim R.; Schupp, Jürgen: The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements. In: Schmollers Jahrbuch (Journal of Applied Social Science Studies)2007, Volume 127, p. 139-169. (Article)
  • Schupp, Jürgen: 25 Jahre Sozio-oekonomisches Panel - Ein Infrastrukturprojekt der empirischen Sozial- und Wirtschaftsforschung in Deutschland. In: Zeitschrift für Soziologie2009, Volume 38, p. 350-357. (Article)

Update Metadata: 2019-04-29 | Issue Number: 5 | Registration Date: 2016-12-14