Statistics Explained

Glossary:EU statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC)

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The EU statistics on income and living conditions, abbreviated as EU-SILC, is the reference source for comparative statistics on income distribution and social inclusion in the European Union (EU). It is used for policy monitoring within the 'Open method of coordination (OMC)'.

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. EU-SILC 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;
  • longitudinal data pertaining to individual-level changes over time, observed periodically over a four-year period.

EU-SILC is a multi-purpose instrument which focuses mainly on income. Detailed data are collected on income components, mostly on personal income, although a few household income components are included. However, information on social exclusion, housing conditions, labour, education and health information is also obtained.

EU-SILC is based on the idea of a common “framework” and no longer a common “survey”. The common framework defines

  • the harmonised lists of target primary (annual) and secondary (every four years or less frequently) variables to be transmitted to Eurostat;
  • common guidelines and procedures;
  • common concepts (household and income) and classifications aimed at maximising comparability of the information produced.

The reference population in EU-SILC includes all private households and their current members residing in the territory of the countries at the time of data collection. Persons living in collective households and in institutions are generally excluded from the target population. Some small parts of the national territory amounting to no more than 2 % of the national population and the national territories may be excluded from EU-SILC. All household members are surveyed, but only those aged 16 and more are interviewed.

Further information

Statistical data