methods, notes and classification In-work at-risk-of-poverty rate by educational attainment level - EU-SILC survey methods, notes and classification

Income and Living Conditions

Statistics on income, social inclusion and living conditions cover objective and subjective aspects of these themes in both monetary and non-monetary terms for both households and individuals. They are used to monitor the Europe 2020 strategy in particular through its poverty reduction headline target.

The main source for the compilation of statistics on income, social inclusion and living conditions is the EU-Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) instrument. It collects comparable multidimensional micro-data on:

* income
* poverty
* social exclusion
* housing 
* labour (see also [Labour market][2])
* education (see also [Education and training][3])
* health (see also [Health][4])

Additional data on living conditions can be found in other domains, notably population statistics, health statistics, education and training statistics and labour market statistics.

What is EU-SILC? More

EU-SILC sample size More

Target population More

Availability of results More


Data on Income and Living Conditions are extracted from the EU SILC instrument. They are available either as microdata sets or as aggregated data. For more information you can consult our release calendar.

Aggregated results relate to the Europe 2020 indicators (People at risk of poverty or social exclusion) income distribution and monetary poverty, living conditions and material deprivation. The results are presented in the following formats:

* Main tables: these are pre-defined tables with a maximum of three dimensions where the axes of the tables are fixed;
* Database: the data are presented in multidimensional datasets and may be extracted in variety of formats. the user can freely choose the information to be presented on each of the axes;
* Ad-hoc modules: these are predefined tables with standard breakdowns containing data for each annual EU SILC modules.

The indicators used to monitor progress on social inclusion and social protection under the Open Method of Coordination are presented here. Aggregates for the European Union (EU-27 and EU-15) and the Euro area (EA-17, EA-16, EA) are computed as the population-weighted average of national indicators (see methodological note). The algorithms used to compute these indicators are available here:

* [Working Paper on EU-SILC datasets][13]

The Health Indicators used under the Open Method of Coordination are presented in the Health section of Eurostat website.

Ad-hoc modules

Ad-hoc modules are developed each year in order to complement the variables permanently collected in EU-SILC with supplementary variables highlighting unexplored aspects of social inclusion.

The modules carried out so far are presented below with their legal basis, an assessment of their implementation as well as some standard breakdowns of the data:

2011 module: Intergenerational transmission of disadvantages Assessment

2010 module: Intra-household sharing of resources Assessment

2009 module: Material deprivation Assessment

2008 module: Over-indebtedness and financial exclusion Assessment

2007 module: Housing conditions Assessment

2006 module: Social participation Assessment

2005 module: Intergenerational transmission of poverty Assessment


The EU-Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) instrument is based on the idea of a common “framework”. The common framework is flexible in terms of data sources and sampling design although the use of existing data sources, whether they are surveys or registers, and the use of national sampling design is strongly encouraged. As an illustration, the following sampling designs were used in 2007:

* Sampling of dwellings or addresses: Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania and United Kingdom.
* Sampling of households: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and Switzerland.
* Sampling of individuals: Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway (all ‘register’ countries except Lithuania).

The common framework defines a number of target objectives aimed at maximising the comparability of the information produced:

* Concepts and definitions;
* Guidelines and procedures;
* Harmonised lists of variables;
* Classifications. 

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 More

Employee income More

Self-employment More

Imputed rent More

Property income More

Social benefits More

Other parts of income More

Taxes and contributions More

Total household income More

Reference periods More


The classifications used in the production of EU-SILC results are based on international systems.

* The country codes conform to the ISO 3166 (International Organisation of Standardisation), with the exception of the United Kingdom which is coded as UK.
* The regional codes are the [NUTS II][32] and the corresponding statistical regions for the EFTA and Candidate Countries.
* The education variables (the level currently attended and the level reached) are based on ISCED-97.
* The classification of occupation uses [ISCO-88][33] (Com).
* The classification of economic activity uses [NACE][34] (Rev. 1.1 until 2007, Rev. 2 from 2008 onwards). See details on the transition between [NACE Rev. 1.1 and Rev. 2][35]. 

For more details on the classification used please see RAMON, Eurostat's metadata server.

List of variables

EU-SILC comprises a list of target variables which are based on common guidelines. Each country may implement the most efficient solution from a national perspective to deliver the data corresponding to each variable. (For more details see Questionnaires under 'Quality') There are two kinds of variables in EU-SILC: the primary and secondary variables.

Primary variables

The primary variables are collected every year. These variables refer either to household or to individual (for person aged 16 and more) information and are regrouped into domains:

* At household level, four domains are covered: (1) basic data, (2) housing, (3) material deprivation and (4) income.

* The personal level is regrouped into five domains: (1) basic/demographic data, (2) education, (3) health, (4) labour and (5) income.

Household register (list)

Household data (list) * Basic data * [Housing][41 * [Material deprivation]42 * Income

Personal register (list) * Basic data * Child care

Personal data (list) * Basic data * Education * Health * Labour * Income

Secondary variables

Secondary variables are collected every five years or less frequently in the so-called ad-hoc modules. They include information either at household or personal level about specific topics.

Over time, the following topics have been addressed:

Supplementary variables on Material Deprivation

It is a pilot data collection, based on ESS agreement (for further details on ESS agreement see “Legislation”), of supplementary compulsory and optional variables on material deprivation to be implemented in 2013.


The main regulation establishing EU-SILC with provisions on survey design, survey characteristics, data transmission, publication and decision-making processes is:

* [Framework regulation][72]  - this is the central piece of legislation which sets up the whole EU-SILC instrument.

This regulation was amended twice to follow the successive enlargements of the European Union:

* [2004 enlargement and derogations][73]  
* [2007 enlargement][74]

The following implementing regulations provide further specifications in the implementation of EU-SILC (presented by short name in chronological order):

* [Definitions][75] amended by [Derogation on gross income data][76]. It lists the main basic definitions (household member, income) to be used in EU-SILC.  
* [Fieldwork and imputation procedures][77]   
* [Sampling and tracing rules][78]  
* [List of permanent variables][79] - this regulation gives the list of variables which are to be collected every year (so-called ‘primary’ variables).  
* [Quality reports][80]   

In addition, some regulations introduce variables which are collected only every four or five years (so-called ‘secondary’ variables). The list of annual ad-hoc modules has been the following (presented by short name in inverse chronological order):

* [2015 module: Social and cultural participation and material deprivation][81]  
* [2014 module: Material deprivation][82]  
* [2013 module: Well-being][83]  
* [2012 module: Housing conditions][84]  
* [2011 module: Intergenerational transmission of disadvantages][85]  
* [2010 module: Intra-household sharing of resources][86]  
* [2009 module: Material deprivation][87]  
* [2008 module: Over-indebtedness and financial exclusion][88]  
* [2007 module: Housing conditions][89]  
* [2006 module: Social participation][90]  
* [2005 module: Intergenerational transmission of poverty][91]      


With the adoption of the European Statistics Code of Practice, Eurostat and the statistical authorities of the EU Member States have committed themselves to an encompassing approach towards high quality statistics. It builds upon a common European Statistical System definition of quality in statistics which contains the following dimensions:

* Relevance: European Statistics must meet the needs of users  
* Accuracy and reliability: European Statistics must accurately and reliably portray reality  
* Timeliness and punctuality: European Statistics must be disseminated in a timely and punctual manner  
* Coherence and comparability: European Statistics should be consistent internally, over time and comparable between regions and countries; it should be possible to combine and make joint use of related data from different sources  
* Accessibility and clarity: European Statistics should be presented in a clear and understandable form, disseminated in a suitable and convenient manner, available and accessible on an impartial basis with supporting metadata and guidance   

In EU-SILC two quality reports – intermediary and final, are produced at both EU and national level each year. The contents of the - quality reports are defined by Commission regulation of 5 January 2004. In general terms the quality repots present information on the quality items described above. The intermediate one focuses on the cross-sectional operation while the final one includes also information on the longitudinal operation.

EU Quality reports

The EU Quality reports are produced annually by Eurostat on the basis on the quality reports provided by countries. The reports for year N are usually available in July N+2 (intermediate) and July N+3 (final).

The EU comparative quality reports are available below.

Comparative EU Intermediate QR
2010 EU-IQR
2009 EU-IQR
2008 EU-IQR
2007 EU-IQR
Comparative EU Final QR
2010 EU-FQR
2009 EU-FQR
2008 EU-FQR
2007 EU-FQR
2006 EU-FQR
2005 EU-FQR

National quality reports

The national quality reports are freely disseminated by Eurostat upon the formal authorisation from the concerned countries. Therefore only countries having accepted this public release are presented below. To consult the national quality reports please click on the flag below.

Quality reports: Member states

Czech Republic
The Netherlands
United Kingdom

Quality reports: EFTA countries



National questionnaires

Given the principle of flexibility adopted in the implementation of EU-SILC at national level, the sequence of questions needed to construct one target variable may vary from one country to another.

To consult the national questionnaires received from countries click below (questionnaires are sent by countries to Eurostat on a voluntary basis, in national language(s) and/or translated into other languages):


National questionnaires: EFTA countries



You can also consult the relevant EU-SILC page on the websites of the National Statistical Institutes either in English or in the respective national language.

Member states

Czech Republic
The Netherlands

Candidate countries


EFTA countries


International organisations
    • International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011)
      • 0 Less than primary, primary and lower secondary education (levels 0-2)
      • 1 Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (levels 3 and 4)
      • 2 Tertiary education (levels 5-8)
    • Geopolitical entity (reporting)
      • 00 European Union (EU6-1958, EU9-1973, EU10-1981, EU12-1986, EU15-1995, EU25-2004, EU27-2007, EU28-2013, EU27-2020)
      • 01 European Union - 27 countries (from 2020)
      • 02 European Union - 28 countries (2013-2020)
      • 03 European Union - 27 countries (2007-2013)
      • 04 Euro area (EA11-1999, EA12-2001, EA13-2007, EA15-2008, EA16-2009, EA17-2011, EA18-2014, EA19-2015)
      • 05 Euro area - 19 countries (from 2015)
      • 06 Euro area - 18 countries (2014)
      • 07 Belgium
      • 08 Bulgaria
      • 09 Czechia
      • 0a Denmark
      • 0b Germany (until 1990 former territory of the FRG)
      • 0c Estonia
      • 0d Ireland
      • 0e Greece
      • 0f Spain
      • 0g France
      • 0h Croatia
      • 0i Italy
      • 0j Cyprus
      • 0k Latvia
      • 0l Lithuania
      • 0m Luxembourg
      • 0n Hungary
      • 0o Malta
      • 0p Netherlands
      • 0q Austria
      • 0r Poland
      • 0s Portugal
      • 0t Romania
      • 0u Slovenia
      • 0v Slovakia
      • 0w Finland
      • 0x Sweden
      • 0y United Kingdom
      • 0z Iceland
      • 10 Norway
      • 11 Switzerland
      • 12 Montenegro
      • 13 North Macedonia
      • 14 Serbia
      • 15 Turkey