Data - Income and living conditions

Information on data

Data on Income and Living Conditions come from the EU-Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) data collection.

For more information, please click on the headings below. 

Main concepts and definitions

EU-SILC is based on common concepts and definitions. Each country may implement the most efficient solution from a national perspective to deliver the data corresponding to each variable (For more details see national questionnaires under ‘Quality').

The evolution of some of these concepts to better reflect the complexity as well as the diversity of the national situations can be consulted in the annual methodological guidelines.

Household membership

In EU-SILC the following persons are regarded as household members:

  1. Persons usually resident, related to other members;
  2. Persons usually resident, not related to other members;
  3. Resident boarders, lodgers, tenants (for at least 6 months);
  4. Visitors (for at least 6 months);
  5. Live-in domestic servants, au-pairs (for at least 6 months);
  6. Persons usually resident, but temporarily absent from the dwelling;
  7. Children of the household being educated away from home;
  8. Persons absent for long periods, but having household ties;
  9. Persons temporarily absent (for less than six months) but having household ties.

Employee income

Employee income is defined as the total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an employer to an employee in return for work done by the latter during the income reference period. The employee income is broken down into:

  1. Gross cash or near-cash employee income (PY010G). This refers to the monetary component of the compensation of employees in cash payable by an employer to an employee;
  2. Gross non-cash employee income (PY020G). This refers to the non-monetary income components which may be provided free or at a reduced price to an employee as part of the employment package by an employer.

Imputed rent

The imputed rent (HY030G) refers to the value that shall be imputed for all households that do not report paying full rent, either because they are owner-occupiers or they live in accommodation rented at a lower price than the market price, or because the accommodation is provided rent-free.

The imputed rent shall be estimated only for those dwellings (and any associated buildings such a garage) used as a main residence by the households.

The value to impute shall be the equivalent market rent that would be paid for a similar dwelling as that occupied, less any rent actually paid (in the case where the accommodation is rented at a lower price than the market price), less any subsidies received from the government or from a non-profit institution (if owner-occupied or the accommodation is rented at a lower price than the market price), less any minor repairs or refurbishment expenditure which the owner-occupier households make on the property of the type that would normally be carried out by landlords.

The market rent is the rent due for the right to use an unfurnished dwelling on the private market, excluding charges for heating, water, electricity, etc.

Other parts of income

They include:

  • Regular inter-household cash transfers received (HY080G) or paid (HY130G), which refer to alimony and other regular cash support;
  • Income received by people aged under 16 (HY110G);
  • Interest paid on mortgage (HY100G), which refers to the total gross amount, before deducting any tax credit or tax allowance, of mortgage interest on the main residence of the household.

Property income

Property income is defined as the income received less expenses accruing, during the income reference period, by the owner of a financial asset or a tangible non-produced asset (land) in return for providing funds to or putting the tangible non-produced asset at the disposal of another institutional unit.

The property income is broken down into:

  1. Interest, dividends, profits from capital investment in an unincorporated business (HY090G);
  2. Income from rental of a property or land (HY040G).


Self-employment income is defined as the income received by individuals, for themselves or in respect of their family members, as a result of their current or former involvement in self-employment jobs. Self-employment jobs are those jobs where the remuneration is directly dependent upon the profits (or the potential for profits) derived from the goods and services produced (where own consumption is considered to be part of profits).

The self-employment income is broken down into:

  1. Gross cash profits or losses from self-employment (including royalties) (PY050G);
  2. Value of goods produced for own consumption (PY070G).

Social benefits

Social benefits are defined as current transfers received by households and intended to relieve them from the financial burden of a number of risks or needs, made through collectively organised schemes, or outside such schemes by government units or non-profit institutions. It includes:

  1. Family/children-related allowances (HY050G);
  2. Housing allowances (HY070G);
  3. Unemployment benefits (PY090G);
  4. Old-age benefits (PY100G);
  5. Survivors' benefits (PY110G);
  6. Sickness benefits (PY120G);
  7. Disability benefits (PY130G);
  8. Education-related allowances (PY140G);
  9. Social exclusion not elsewhere classified (HY060G).

Taxes and contributions

Taxes and contributions are broken down into:

  1. Tax on income and social insurance contributions (HY140G);
  2. Regular taxes on wealth (HY120G);
  3. Employers' social insurance contributions (PY030G);

Total household income 

Two main concepts of household income are used. They are:

  • Total gross household income (HY010);
  • and Total disposable household income (HY020).

Total gross household income (HY010) is computed as the sum for all household members of the following gross personal income components:

  • Gross cash or near-cash employee income (PY010G);
  • Gross non-cash employee income (PY020G or PY021G);
  • Gross cash profits or losses from self-employment (including royalties) (PY050G);
  • Pension from individual private plans (PY080G)
  • Social benefits, which include unemployment benefits (PY090G), old-age benefits (PY100G), survivors' benefits (PY110G), sickness benefits (PY120G), disability benefits (PY130G) and education-related allowances (PY140G))

Plus the gross income components which are defined at household level:

  • Income from rental of a property or land (HY040G);
  • Social benefits, which include family/children-related allowances (HY050G); housing allowances (HY070G) and social exclusion not elsewhere classified (HY060G);
  • Regular inter-household cash transfers received (HY080G);
  • Interests, dividends, profit from capital investments in unincorporated business (HY090G);
  • Income received by people aged under 16 (HY110G).

Total disposable household income (HY020) is computed as the Total gross household income (HY010) diminished by:

  • Regular taxes on wealth (HY120G);
  • Regular inter-household cash transfer paid (HY130G);
  • And Tax on income and social insurance contributions (HY140G).

Reference periods

The reference period is the period of time to which a particular item of information relates. It is defined independently for each variable depending on its use. 

The income reference period for most of countries is the calendar year previous to the survey year with two exceptions: 1. In Ireland the income reference period is the last twelve months. 2. In the United Kingdom the current income is annualised and aims to refer the current calendar year, i.e. weekly estimates are multiplied by 52, monthly by 12.

EU-SILC sample size

The minimum size of the sample of the overall population which is surveyed every year is of:

  • Cross-sectional data operation: about 130 000 households and 270 000 persons aged 16 and more are interviewed in the European Union countries.
  • Longitudinal data operation: about 100 000 households and 200 000 persons aged 16 and more are interviewed in the European Union countries.

Target population

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. All household members are surveyed, but only those aged 16 and more are interviewed.

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 listed in the legislation may be excluded from EU-SILC.

Availability of results

EU-SILC results are available on the Eurostat website and comprise:

  • Multi-dimensional datasets (see 'Database' on the left side menu), and
  • Policy indicators (see also 'Main tables' on the left side menu)

Both datasets and indicators are updated on the Eurostat website as soon as new data become available.

For information on the legal framework related to the data transmission and expected release date of the data, please see the  release calendar

For detailed information about significant changes and breaks in time series, as well as changes in underlying phenomena and other changes in society considered relevant, please see the overview of breaks in series.

For scientific purposes only, access to anonymised microdata is possible under specific conditions. 

The production of EU-SILC statistics is given priority over extraction requests by researchers to Eurostat. Therefore, we ask for your comprehension that the latter might take delays of several months.

Computation of aggregates

Aggregates for the European Union and the Euro area are computed as the population-weighted average of national indicators (see methodological note).

The algorithms used to compute these indicators are available in this online publication in Statistics Explained.