European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions 2009 - Cross-Sectional User Database
Other Household Survey [hh/oth]
The EU-SILC project was launched in 2003 on the basis of a 'gentleman's agreement' in six Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Austria), as well as in Norway. The starting date for the EU-SILC instrument was 2004 for the EU-15 (with the exception of Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which had derogations until 2005), as well as for Estonia, Norway and Iceland. The ten new Member States with the exception of Estonia started in 2005. The instrument has also been implemented in Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey and in Switzerland as from 2007. Implementation in Croatia is being discussed.
The EU-SILC database is a cross-sectional and longitudinal sample survey, coordinated by Eurostat, based on data from the EU member states. EU-SILC provides data on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions in the European Union. EU-SILC microdata is gathered by the Member States of the European Union and collated by Eurostat.
In 2009, the EU-SILC instrument covered all EU Member States plus Iceland, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland. EU-SILC has become the EU reference source for comparative statistics on income distribution and social exclusion at European level, particularly in the context of the "Program of Community action to encourage cooperation between Member States to combat social exclusion" and for producing structural indicators on social cohesion for the annual spring report to the European Council. The first priority is to be given to the delivery of comparable, timely and high quality cross-sectional data.
There are two types of datasets:
1) Cross-sectional data pertaining to fixed time periods, with variables on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions.
2) Longitudinal data pertaining to individual-level changes over time, observed periodically - usually over four years.
Social exclusion and housing-condition information is collected at household level. Income at a detailed component level is collected at personal level, with some components included in the "Household" section. Labour, education and health observations only apply to persons 16 and older. EU-SILC was established to provide data on structural indicators of social cohesion (at-risk-of-poverty rate, S80/S20 and gender pay gap) and to provide relevant data for the two 'open methods of coordination' in the field of social inclusion and pensions in Europe.
The 7th version of the 2009 Cross-Sectional User Database (UDB) as released in July 2015 is documented here.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
- Individuals 16 years and older.
This is the 7th version of the 2009 Cross-Sectional User Database as released in July 2015.
EU-SILC microdata are available to researchers carrying out statistical analyses for scientific purposes. These microdata refer both to individuals and households. The datasets are released in the so-called User Database (UDB) twice a year.
The individual data are anonymized by Eurostat in such a way that the statistical units cannot be identified. The differences between the microdata collected by the National Statistical Institutes and the ones released in the UDB resulting from the anonymization process are listed in "Differences between Data Collected and Anonymised User Database, Cross-Sectional 2009" in Related Materials.
The scope of the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey 2009 includes:
- Household Composition;
- Dwelling and living conditions;
- Household expenditures;
- Basic needs for all household children;
- Social transfers and family benefits;
- Agricultural activity;
- Economic activity, employment and unemployment;
- Health status.
The survey covers following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway.
Small parts of the national territory amounting to no more than 2% of the national population and the national territories listed below 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.
The survey covered all household members over 16 years old. Persons living in collective households and in institutions are generally excluded from the target population.
Producers and sponsors
On the basis of various statistical and practical considerations and the precision requirements for the most critical variables, the minimum effective sample sizes to be achieved were defined. Sample size for the longitudinal component refers, for any pair of consecutive years, to the number of households successfully interviewed in the first year in which all or at least a majority of the household members aged 16 or over are successfully interviewed in both the years.
For the cross-sectional component, the plans are to achieve the minimum effective sample size of around 131.000 households in the EU as a whole (137.000 including Iceland and Norway). The allocation of the EU sample among countries represents a compromise between two objectives: the production of results at the level of individual countries, and production for the EU as a whole. Requirements for the longitudinal data will be less important. For this component, an effective sample size of around 98.000 households (103.000 including Iceland and Norway) is planned.
Member States using registers for income and other data may use a sample of persons (selected respondents) rather than a sample of complete households in the interview survey. The minimum effective sample size in terms of the number of persons aged 16 or over to be interviewed in detail is in this case taken as 75 % of the figures shown in columns 3 and 4 of the table I, for the cross-sectional and longitudinal components respectively.
The reference is to the effective sample size, which is the size required if the survey were based on simple random sampling (design effect in relation to the 'risk of poverty rate' variable = 1.0). The actual sample sizes will have to be larger to the extent that the design effects exceed 1.0 and to compensate for all kinds of non-response. Furthermore, the sample size refers to the number of valid households which are households for which, and for all members of which, all or nearly all the required information has been obtained. For countries with a sample of persons design, information on income and other data shall be collected for the household of each selected respondent and for all its members.
At the beginning, a cross-sectional representative sample of households is selected. It is divided into say 4 sub-samples, each by itself representative of the whole population and similar in structure to the whole sample. One sub-sample is purely cross-sectional and is not followed up after the first round. Respondents in the second sub-sample are requested to participate in the panel for 2 years, in the third sub-sample for 3 years, and in the fourth for 4 years. From year 2 onwards, one new panel is introduced each year, with request for participation for 4 years. In any one year, the sample consists of 4 sub-samples, which together constitute the cross-sectional sample. In year 1 they are all new samples; in all subsequent years, only one is new sample. In year 2, three are panels in the second year; in year 3, one is a panel in the second year and two in the third year; in subsequent years, one is a panel for the second year, one for the third year, and one for the fourth (final) year.
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.
Detailed information about sampling is available in Quality Reports in Related Materials.
Weighting factors shall be calculated as required to take into account the units’ probability of selection, non-response and, as appropriate, to adjust the sample to external data relating to the distribution of households and persons in the target population, such as by sex, age (five-year age groups), household size and composition and region (NUTS II level), or relating to income data from other national sources where the Member States concerned consider such external data to be sufficiently reliable.
Detailed information about sampling is available in Quality Reports in Related Materials.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The information included in the SILC project can either be extracted from registers or be 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.
In order to ensure disclosure control and confidentiality of the User Database (UDB), some variables collected were removed or changed by Eurostat. On the other hand, in order to ease the use of the data, some variables were added.
The description of the changes between the data collected by countries as described in the 2009 guidelines and the user database is available in "Differences between Data Collected and Anonymised User Database, Cross-Sectional 2009" in Related Materials.
ECA Team for Statistical Development
Licensed datasets, accessible under conditions.
Users are required to sign the document "Confidentiality Declaration," which is available in Documentation, after approval users can download Stata.
When publishing statistics derived from the cross sectional UDB SILC 2009, please state as source: "EU-SILC UDB 2009 - version 7 of July 2015."
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
DDI Document ID
Poverty - GP
Documentation of the DDI
Development Data Group
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 03 (July 2015)
New version of datasets is documented.