European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)

Key information on data relevant for research project proposals:

Age - top coded 80y and above
Year of birth - recoded: year of survey minus 81 and below
Region - NUTS 1 level 
Year of immigration - Grouped in 5 year classes
Country of birth – Recoded "LOC", "EU" "OTH"
Citizenship - Recoded "LOC", "EU" "OTH"
ISCED – highest level attained top coded 500 and above
NACE – NACE (Rev.2) 2 digit-level recoded into sections 
Income variables - in euro

Note: HOUSEHOLD IDs are randomised in cross-sectional dataset so as to prevent from either tracking respondents across time, or linking cross-sectional data with longitudinal data.

The anonymisation rules applied to scientific use files depend on the EU-SILC data type (cross-sectional or longitudinal), country and wave. See more below.

Description of dataset

The European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) aims at collecting timely and comparable cross-sectional and longitudinal multidimensional microdata on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions. 

The EU-SILC project was launched in 2003 based on a "gentlemen's agreement" in six Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Austria) and Norway. The EU-SILC legal basis entered into force in 2004 and covers now all EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland; some other countries participated on the voluntary basis.

The EU-SILC provides two types of data:

  • Cross-sectional data concerning a given time or a certain time period with variables on income, poverty, social exclusion and other living conditions
  • Longitudinal data concerning individual-level changes over time, observed periodically over a four-year period.

Information on social exclusion and housing conditions is collected mainly at household level, while labour, education and health information is obtained from individual persons aged 16 and over. Also income variables at detailed component level are mainly collected from persons.

EU-SILC scientific use files (SUFs)

EU-SILC scientific use files contain partially anonymised microdata in two types: cross-sectional and longitudinal. Methodological guidelines describe EU-SILC variables as transmitted to Eurostat. The differences between the original database (as defined in the guidelines) and the scientific use files are described separately for cross-sectional and longitudinal SUFs:

The complete set of guidelines and anonymisation rules is provided with the the data.

The Data availability table shows the latest and planned releases of EU-SILC scientific use files.

EU-SILC based data

EU-SILC data is used for monitoring poverty and social inclusion in the EU within the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU’s agenda for growth and jobs. One of the EU2020 headline targets is reduction of the number of people under poverty and social exclusion by 20 million in 2020. This is measured using EU-SILC. A broader set of indicators, building also on numerous EU-SILC data, constitute the Joint Assessment Framework (JAF) of the EU2020 strategy.

EU-SILC data also provide quantitative evidence for monitoring the implementation of the social protection and inclusion dimension of the European Pillar of Social Rights, provide data for the Social Protection Performance Monitor (SPPM) and is used in the context of the Open Method of Coordination on social inclusion and social protection.

All statistics under the Income and Living conditions (ILC) domain in the Eurostat dissemination database are EU-SILC data.

EU-SILC microdata releases with DOI (digital object identifier) number