What are microdata?

Microdata are sets of records containing information on individuals, households or businesses. We use them in official statistics to produce aggregate information (usually tables). Access to confidential microdata is restricted to protect the anonymity of individuals or businesses.

Can everyone access microdata?

We grant access to our microdata for scientific purposes only.

To apply for access, we first need to recognise your organisation as a research entity – a university, research institute or research department in a public administration, bank, statistical institute etc.

How do I apply for access?

  • Step 1 – Apply to have your research organisation recognised as a research entity. You only need to do this once (the procedure takes around 4 weeks)
  • Step 2 – Apply for access to microdata. Once we've recognised your organisation, you can apply for access by submitting a research proposal (the procedure takes around 8-10 weeks)

How are data provided?

Depending on your access type, we will:

  • send your principal researcher files containing anonymised data (scientific use files);
  • authorise your organisation to access non-anonymised data (secure use files) in Eurostat's "Safe Centre" (dedicated room on Eurostat premises) or remotely via accredited access points. 

Access to microdata is only valid for the period specified in the research proposal. At the end of the period, you must:

  • destroy any original scientific use files sent by Eurostat and any confidential data derived from the files, and
  • send Eurostat your research results.

According to the  terms of use of confidential data, access to the scientific use files is only allowed on the premises of research entities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many research organisations are closed, making it impossible to work on the data. In these special circumstances, remote access to the data may be granted if certain conditions are fulfilled (see section 8.2 of the  Microdata access guidelines). To work with the data remotely, please complete the  request form.