ICT usage in households and by individuals (isoc_i)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

G4: Innovation and digitalisation

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 16/12/2021
2.2. Metadata last posted 16/12/2021
2.3. Metadata last update 16/12/2021


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The EU survey on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in households and by individuals is an annual survey conducted since 2002 aiming at collecting and disseminating harmonised and comparable information on the use of ICT in households and by individuals.

Data presented in this domain are collected on a yearly basis by the National Statistical Institutes and are based on Eurostat's annual model questionnaire. This questionnaire is updated each year to reflect the evolving situation of information and communication technologies.

Indicators from this survey are used for benchmarking purposes and in particular, this survey supports measuring the implementation of one of the six priorities for the period 2019-2024 of the von der Leyen European Commission – A Europe fit for the digital age. The strategy is built on three pillars: (1) Technology that works for the people; (2) A fair and competitive digital economy; (3) An open, democratic and sustainable society. Furthermore, it facilitates monitoring of the EU’s digital targets for 2030 set by the Digital Compass for the EU's Digital Decade, evolving around four cardinal points: skills, digital transformation of businesses, secure and sustainable digital infrastructures, and digitalization of public services.

Data on the use of ICT are also used in the Consumer Conditions Scoreboard (purchases over the Internet) and in the Employment Guidelines (e-skills of individuals).

Coverage: The characteristics to be provided are drawn from the following list of subjects:

  • access to and use of ICTs by individuals and/or in households,
  • use of the internet and other electronic networks for different purposes (e-commerce for example) by individuals and/or in households,
  • ICT security and trust,
  • ICT competence and skills,
  • barriers to the use of ICT and the Internet,
  • perceived effects of ICT usage on individuals and/or on households,
  • use of ICT by individuals to exchange information and services with governments and public administrations (e-government),
  • access to and use of technologies enabling connection to the Internet or other networks from anywhere at any time (ubiquitous connectivity).

In 2021, the survey collects data on the access to information and communication technologies (ICT), on the use of the internet, e-commerce, e-government, e-skills, as well as privacy and protection of personal data.

 

Breakdowns (see details of available breakdowns in the document stored in the Annexes):

Relating to households:

  • by region of residence (NUTS 1, optional: NUTS 2)
  • by geographical location: less developed regions, transition regions, more developed regions
  • by degree of urbanisation (till 2012: densely/intermediate/sparsely populated areas; from 2012: densely/thinly populated area, intermediate density area) 
  • by type of household
  • by household's net monthly income (optional until 2020, mandatory since 2021)

Relating to individuals:

  • by region of residence (NUTS1, optional: NUTS 2)
  • by geographical location: less developed regions, transition regions, more developed regions
  • by degree of urbanisation: (till 2012: densely/intermediate/sparsely populated areas; from 2012: densely/thinly populated area, intermediate density area)
  • by gender
  • by country of birth, country of citizenship (as of 2010, optional in 2010)
  • by educational level: ISCED 1997 up to 2013 and ISCED 2011 from 2014 onwards.
  • by occupation: manual/non-manual; ICT/non-ICT worker; 2-digit ISCO categories (optional until 2020, mandatory since 2021)
  • by employment situation
  • by age (in completed years and by groups)
  • legal / de facto marital status (2011-2014, optional)

Regional breakdowns (NUTS) are available only for a selection of indicators disseminated in the regional tables in Eurobase (Regional Information society statistics by NUTS regions (isoc_reg)):

  • households with access to the internet at home
  • households with broadband access
  • individuals who have never used a computer
  • individuals who used the internet, frequency of use and activities
  • individuals who used the internet for interaction with public authorities
  • individuals who ordered goods or services over the internet for private use
  • individuals who accessed the internet away from home or work.
3.2. Classification system

Under the Integrated European Social Statistics (IESS) the following common concepts and definitions apply:

  • the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED): up to 2013, ISCED 1997 and from 2014 onwards ISCED 2011 published in the following breakdowns: "Low formal education": at most lower secondary education [referring to ISCED levels 0, 1 or 2], "Medium formal education": upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education [referring to ISCED levels 3 and 4] and "High formal education": tertiary programmes which normally need a successful completion of ISCED 3 or 4, or second-stage tertiary education leading to an advanced research qualification [referring to ISCED levels 5 and 6];
  • the International Standard Classification for Occupation ISCO-08 at the 2-digit level;
  • the Classification of Economic Activities (NACE Rev.2-2008), at section level;
  • the Common classification of territorial units for statistics (NUTS 1): Regional breakdowns have been provided on a voluntary basis for 2006 and 2007 according to NUTS1 or NUTS2 by several countries. Starting from 2008, the collection of NUTS1 breakdowns is obligatory (regional breakdowns for all countries are available) while NUTS2 breakdowns are still optional.
  • the SCL - Geographical code list;
  • information about household income is provided at lower level of detail.
3.3. Coverage - sector

The ICT survey in households and by individuals covers those households having at least one member in the age group 16 to 74 years old. Internet access of households refers to the percentage of households that have an internet access, so that anyone in the household could use the internet.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The survey is collecting data of internet users, individuals who have used the internet in the three months prior to the survey. Regular internet users are individuals who used the internet, on average, at least once a week in the three months prior to the survey.

This annual survey is used to benchmark ICT-driven developments, both by following developments for core variables over time and by looking in greater depth at other aspects at a specific point in time. While the survey initially concentrated on access and connectivity issues, its scope has subsequently been extended to cover a variety of subjects (for example, the use of e-government and e-commerce) and socio-economic analysis (such as regional diversity, gender specificity, differences in age, education and the employment situation). The scope of the survey with respect to different technologies is also adapted so as to cover new product groups and means of delivering communication technologies to end-users.

The household survey comprises questions at household level and individual level and covers the following areas:

  • Access to selected IC technologies (data collected at household level)
  • Use of computers, location, frequency of use, activities (data collected at individual level)
  • Use of the Internet (data collected at individual level)
  • Internet commerce (data collected at individual level)
  • E-skills; the mobile use of the Internet - ubiquitous connectivity; cloud computing, e-government; trust and security.

Some definitions of socio-demographic background characteristics:

  • Households covered are private households with at least one member in the age group 16 to 74 years
  • Nationals/citizenship, residence: see Report on Core Social Variables of Eurostat (available also in the Annexes)
  • Degree of urbanisation: new classification applicable since 2012
  • Geographical location: less developed regions / transition regions / more developed region
  • Status in employment, labour status: see Report on Core Social Variables of Eurostat.
  • High-medium-low education according to the highest ISCED level completed; starting from 2014, ISCED 2011 was implemented.

A detailed list of variables collected/disseminated in Eurobase is annually updated (available from the Annexes); all variables collected in the framework of this survey can be found in the Comprehensive database (ACCESS format) on the dedicated section of Eurostat webpage.

For more details on methodology and all defintions for each survey year, please consult the Methodological Manual for the respective year.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical units are Households and Individuals.

3.6. Statistical population

The survey population of Households consists of all private households having at least one member in the age group 16 to 74 years.

The survey population of Individuals consists of all individuals aged 16 to 74. On an optional basis, some countries collect separate data on other age groups: individuals aged 15 years or less, aged 75 or more. More details will be available in the national reports attached to this document.

3.7. Reference area

EU-Member States, Iceland, Switzerland and Norway, candidate countries and potential cadidate countries.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Time series (annual data) are available from 2003 onwards.

The content of the model questionnaire (modules and questions) is adapted every year in order to measure the development in the use of ICT. In order to correctly measure the use of technologies, it is necessary to adapt questions to evolving phenomena and data needs. Occasionally, special modules or group of questions may focus on a specific topic. Moreover, the burden for responding for households/individuals must not exceed a defined threshold. Consequently some questions are asked only on a biennial basis, yielding to interruptions in time series and empty cells in dissemination tables.

An overview of all collected and available variables per year is published on the Eurobase navigation tree next to isoc_i and on the dedicated section Digital economy and society under Related descriptive documents: Variables collected - Use of ICT in households and by individuals.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable


4. Unit of measure Top

The most common units used for publication are: '% of households' and '% of individuals'. All available units and breakdowns are listed in the Related descriptive documents.


5. Reference Period Top

In general, data refer to the first quarter of the reference year. More details are provided in the Model questionnaire and the Country specific notes.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Indicators from these surveys are among others used for benchmarking purposes (see under concept 3.1). A set of benchmarking indicators using statistical information is to be provided through the ESS.

The new legal basis for the 2021 EU survey on the use of ICT in households and by individuals is the Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 October 2019 establishing a common framework for European statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples (OJ  L 261 I, 14.10.2019, p. 1), as implemented by the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1013 of 20 July 2020 specifying the technical items of the data set, establishing the technical formats for transmission of information and specifying the detailed arrangements and content of the quality reports on the organisation of a sample survey in the use of information and communication technologies domain for reference year 2021 pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 237, 20.07.2020, p. 1).

The content of metadata and quality reports follows Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2180 of 16 December 2019 specifying the detailed arrangements and content for the quality reports pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

Previous common framework for the systematic production of Community statistics on the Digital economy and  society was given by Regulation 808/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society and their annual implementing regulations allowing for some flexibility in the content of the surveys. All relevant legal acts are listed in the dedicated section on Eurostat webpage.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

The target is to release data within the survey year in December.

8.2. Release calendar access

The planned release dates are announced some weeks in advance on the dedicated section Digital economy and society (after having informed the WG members). These dates are also published on the Eurostat website.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice, Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see also concept 10. 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Yearly


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Annual news releases are published online coincidentally to the data release, as well as news items in specific occasions (e.g. internet day).

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Statistics Explained articles, the digital publication and other more general publications are listed in the dedicated section of Digital economy and society under Publications.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Data are available online (Eurobase tables) or in the Comprehensive database (ACCESS format).

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

For the Households/Individuals survey, microdata were collected on an optional basis until 2010, on a mandatory basis since 2011. Microdata are available for scientific purposes. For more information, one can consult the Eurostat web page Access to micro-data.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

All variables collected in the framework of this survey are available in the Comprehensive database (ACCESS format) on the dedicated section Digital economy and society.

An overview of the variables collected/published can be consulted/downloaded from the dedicated section Digital economy and society, see 'Variables collected - Use of ICT in Households and by Individuals (link also in the Annexes).

10.6. Documentation on methodology

The Methodological Manual used for the survey on the use of ICT in households and by individuals is annually compiled by Eurostat in co-operation with the Task Force members of the Member States. Definitions and explanations can also be found in the Model Questionnaire.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

National Statistical Institutes provide Eurostat with metadata and quality reports comprising general methodological information of the survey, on statistical unit, target and frame population, sampling design, response and non-response, data processing and sampling errors, etc. These national reports will be linked to this document on the front page (forthcoming).

Summaries of this yearly methodological information are published in the Country specific notes and in the Methodological Manual.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The Methodological Manual provides guidelines and standards for the implementation of the survey in the Member States. The manual is updated and adapted every year according to the content of the model questionnaire.

Furthermore, the use of the Eurostat model questionnaire improves comparability of the results of the survey among participating countries.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

ICT usage statistics have overall good quality. This survey is considered being a reliable source applying high standards with regard to the methodology. Like other surveys, the use of ICT survey is based on a sample of the population. Results are therefore subject to the usual types of errors associated with random sampling (see  different sampling schemes in the overview tables in the annexes of the Methodological Manual).

Each year, National Statistical Institutes provide metadata and quality reports. The reports are publicly available from 2021 onwards and will be attached to this document (forthcoming). These reports are survey execution reports and allow to assess the survey carried out in each reporting country and to detect possible points where there is space for improvement.

The concepts dedicated to quality describe general and some more specific methodological characteristics related to the various stages of the national surveys in households/by individuals (e.g. survey type, statistical units and target population, stratification and sampling design, information on item and unit non-response, grossing-up procedures, standard error calculations, etc.). Overview tables (survey periods and survey vehicles, sampling design and methods, frame populations, sample sizes, response rates, data collections methods, survey vehicles, etc.) are published in the  Methodological Manual.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Users contribute most to identifying/defining the topics to be covered. Hence, main users are consulted regularly for their needs already at a very early stage (at hearings and meetings with Commission services); informal contacts also take place with relevant users. User needs are taken into account throughout the whole discussion process of the model questionnaire.

Large part of the data collected are used in the context of the EU’s digital targets for 2030 set by the Digital Compass for the EU's Digital Decade, evolving around four cardinal points: skills, digital transformation of businesses, secure and sustainable digital infrastructures, and digitalization of public services. They are also used in the construction of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) benchmarking the progress of EU countries and assessing Europe's digital performance framework.

Use of ICT data are also relevant for the Consumer Conditions Scoreboard (purchases over the Internet) and in the Employment Guidelines (e-skills of individuals).

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Well established contacts within the Commission and with the OECD allow to draw a clear picture about the key users' satisfaction as to the following quality aspects: good accuracy and reliability of results, very good timeliness, satisfactory accessibility, good clarity and comparability over time and between countries, very good completeness and relevance.

12.3. Completeness

Variables and breakdowns display, in general, very good completeness. Incomplete data tables may be due to biennial questions in the model questionnaire or to the characteristation of a question as optional (linked to response burden). Changes of questions in the model questionnaire are required by the evolving situation of information and communication technologies. Changes in questions require changing indicator codes, which break the time series and create empty cells in the dissemination tables.

A selection of data on the use of ICT are released in Eurobase tables. All results are disseminated in the Comprehensive database on the dedicated section 'Digital economy and society' on the Eurostat website.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Results provide in general good accuracy and reliability; for accuracy measures, see also in the  Methodological Manual the chapters on 'Sampling design' or on 'Data processing'.

13.2. Sampling error

National statistical institutes provide Eurostat with the estimated standard error at country level for the indicator and its main breakdowns: Individuals having ordered goods or services for private use over the internet in the last 12 months (for the individuals who have ticked 'Within the last 3 months' or 'Between 3 months and a year ago' in question D1 of the 2021 model questionnaire).

13.3. Non-sampling error

National Statistical Institutes report in the annual execution reports about sampling and non-sampling errors and methods used for their treatment; overviews of non-response patterns are available in the Methodological Manuals (see Unit non-response).


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The length of time between data availability and the event or phenomenon they describe can be considered as less than one year. The reference period(s) are laid down in the model questionnaire and are for the majority of questions the current situation during the survey period (usually in the first quarter of the year). 

Data are delivered to Eurostat in the fourth quarter of the survey year and are generally released before the end of the same year (week 49-50).

14.2. Punctuality

As to the time lag between the actual delivery of data to Eurostat and the target date for data delivery, punctuality can in general be considered as very good.

Data release dates for the publication of European aggregates are published on the dedicated website after the October Working group. In the last years, data on the use of ICT have been released as announced in the publicised dates.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The European model questionnaire is generally used in the Member States. Occasionally, due to (small) differences in translation, in reference periods, in the survey vehicle used, in non-response treatment or different routing through national questionnaires, some results for some countries may be of reduced comparability. In these cases, notes are added in the Variable specific notes (link in the Annexes).

15.2. Comparability - over time

Very good comparability over time since 2003 is achieved for most indicators. Restricted comparability over time for some variables is a consequence of the necessary changes in definitions and/or questions in order to measure the development of ICT (e.g. mobile internet, skills).

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

With entry into force of Regulation (EU) 2019/1700, the survey on the use of ICT in households and by individuals allows to put ICT core key variables in perspective wither collections of European statistics on persons and households. Indeed, these social variables should enable to relate outcome of the survey on the use of ICT to the sociologic, demographic and economic background of the observed statistical units.

The source for the frame populations for the use of ICT survey is generally the population register. A snapshot is usually taken in the last months preceding the year of the ICT survey.
The mentioned background variables are used in the ICT survey as denominators for the calculation of ratios, only ratios are disseminated for the use of ICT survey.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Coherence between related questions of the model questionnaire is checked through detailed validation rules after data have been transmitted to Eurostat. If inconsistencies in data are detected, reporting countries are asked to verify and revise their results (sometimes also for previous periods).


16. Cost and Burden Top

In 2020, around 126.000 households with at least one person aged 16-74 and around 171.000 individuals aged 16-74 in the EU were surveyed (those figures do not include France, where the ICT survey has not been conducted in that year).

During the negotiation of each new annual model questionnaire with data providers and main users, the number of questions and response burden are considered.

The burden for respondents consists of up to 139 collected variables; the estimated time to complete the questionnaire, depending on intensity of use, is between 10 and 25 minutes.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

EU aggregates are compiled when the available countries represent 60% of the population and 55% of the number of countries defining one aggregate. 

When further national data become available they are automatically included in the existing aggregates. Hence Eurostat aggregates may change due to the provision of additional data over and above the 60% / 55% rule or any updated data provided by the national statistical institutes.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Users are informed about revisions (see recent updates in comprehensive or working database (in ACCESS format), more detailed information is given in the Excel file attached to the comprehensive database.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Data on the use of ICT usage by households and individuals collected by EU, EEA, Candidate and potential candidates countries are based on surveys. Data are collected by national statistical institutes based on Eurostat's annual model questionnaire. Sampling characteristics per country are presented in overview tables in the Annexes of the  Methodological Manual. The sampling method is generally stratified random sampling which allows to obtain representative results for the necessary breakdowns.

National reports will be attached to this document (forthcoming).

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Data based on Eurostat's model questionnaire are collected by national statistical institutes on an annual basis.

18.3. Data collection

Data are generally collected through face-to-face, telephone interviews, or online questionnaires. The overview of the data collection modes are summarised in the Annexes of the  Methodological Manual.

18.4. Data validation

Data transmitted by the reporting countries to Eurostat undergo detailed verifications by applying automated validation procedures at the level of variables and breakdowns. A further step of data verification consists in the time series checks. Before dissemination, results for the main indicators (for example the benchmarking indicators) are compared across countries.

If, after these verifications data inconsistencies should be found, reporting countries may be asked to verify and potentially revise their results.

When computing the ratios, after aggregating the microdata, Eurostat will flag any result where the denominator is generated from less than 20 households/individuals as unreliable and not publish it on national level. Eurostat will publish and flag as unreliable any result where the denominator is generated from 20 to 49 households/individuals.

18.5. Data compilation

Starting with the 2014 survey, national statistical institutes only transmit microdata to Eurostat. These microdata are verified before computing the aggregates and calculating the ratios for dissemination. EU aggregates are compiled at a point in time when available countries represent 60% of the population and 55% of the number of countries defining one aggregate.

EU aggregates are compiled when the available countries represent 60% of the population and 55% of the number of countries defining the aggregate. National data flagged confidential are not included in EU aggregates whereas national data flagged as unreliable are included when calculating the EU aggregates. Aggregates are only calculated using available data, no estimates for missing data are made (except if provided by reporting countries).

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable


19. Comment Top

See annexes


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top
Legal acts
Methodological Manual 2021 Part II Household survey
Households model questionnaire 2021
Country specific information Households survey
Related Statistics Explained articles
Variables collected and published - Use of ICT in Households and by Individuals
Aggregated variables and breakdowns - 2021 survey on the used of ICT in Households and by Individuals
Eurostat - Implementing Core Social Variables