ICT usage in households and by individuals

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4.Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Dissemination format
11. Accessibility of documentation
12. Quality management
13. Relevance
14. Accuracy
15. Timeliness and punctuality
16. Comparability
17. Coherence
18. Cost and Burden
19. Data revision
20. Statistical processing
21. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unit G4: Innovation and information society
1.5. Contact mail address 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 26/05/2014
2.2. Metadata last posted 26/05/2014
2.3. Metadata last update 26/05/2014

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Data given in this domain are collected by the National Statistical Institutes or Ministries and are based on Eurostat's annual model questionnaires on ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) usage in households and by individuals.

Large part of the data collected are used in the context of the 2011 - 2015 benchmarking framework (endorsed by i2010 High Level Group in November 2009) for the Digital Agenda Scoreboard, Europe's strategy for a flourishing digital economy by 2020. This conceptual framework follows the i2010 Benchmarking Framework which itself followed-up the eEurope 2005 Action Plan. ICT usage data are also used in the Consumer Conditions Scoreboard (purchases over the Internet) and in the Employment Guidelines (e-skills of individuals).

The aim of the European ICT surveys is the timely provision of statistics on individuals and households on the use of Information and Communication Technologies at European level. Data for this collection are supplied directly from the surveys with no separate treatment.


The characteristics to be provided are drawn from the following list of subjects:
- access to and use of ICTs by individuals and/or in households,
- use of the Internet and other electronic networks for different purposes by individuals and/or in households,
- ICT security and trust,
- ICT competence and skills,
- barriers to the use of ICT and the Internet,
- perceived effects of ICT usage on individuals and/or on households,
- use of ICT by individuals to exchange information and services with governments and public administrations (e-government),
- access to and use of technologies enabling connection to the Internet or other networks from anywhere at any time (ubiquitous connectivity).

Breakdowns (see details of available breakdowns):

Relating to households:
- by region of residence (optional: NUTS 2)
- by geographical location
- by degree of urbanisation (till 2012: densely/intermediate/sparsely populated areas; from 2012: intermediate/predominently rural/predominently urban area) 
- by type of household
- by households net monthly income (optional)

Relating to individuals:
- by region of residence (optional: NUTS 2)
- by geographical location: convergence/non-convergence regions, NUTS
- by degree of urbanisation: (till 2012: densely/intermediate/sparsely populated areas; from 2012: intermediate/predominently rural/predominently urban area)
- by gender
- by country of birth, country of citizenship (as of 2010, optional in 2010)
- by educational level: ISCED
- by occupation: 3 digit ISCO categories
- by employment situation
- by age (in completed years and by groups)
- legal / de facto marital status (as of 2011, optional)

Regional breakdowns (NUTS) are to be reported only for the following indicators:

  • Households with access to the Internet at home
  • Households with broadband connection
  • Individuals regularly using the Internet
  • Individuals who have never used a computer
  • Individuals who ordered goods or services over the Internet for private use.
3.2. Classification system


Regional breakdowns have been provided on a voluntary basis for 2006 and 2007 according to NUTS1 or NUTS2 by several countries. Starting from 2008, the collection of NUTS1 breakdowns is obligatory (regional breakdowns for all countries are available) while NUTS2 breakdowns are still optional. 

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not applicable

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The household survey comprises questions at household level and individual level. Household level data and individuals data are broken down as described in point 3.1. Eurostat provides a model questionnaire on ICT usage in Households/by individuals which covers the following areas:

  • Access to selected IC technologies (data collected at household level)
  • Use of computers, location, frequency of use, activities (data collected at individual level)
  • Use of the Internet (data collected at individual level)
  • Internet commerce (data collected at individual level)
  • special modules, for example use of advanced services
  • ad hoc special modules foreseen in the 2011-2015 framework: e-skills; the mobile use of the Internet - ubiquitous connectivity; cloud computing, software as a service; ICT and sustainable development; trust and security.

A detailed list of variables disseminated in Eurobase Where to find ICT usage indicators in Eurobase Database tables is annually updated; all variables collected in the framework of this survey can be found in the comprehensive database (ACCESS format) on Information society.

3.5. Statistical unit

Households and individuals.

3.6. Statistical population

The population of households consists of all households having at least one member in the age group 16 to 74 years.

The population of individuals consists of all individuals aged 16 to 74 (on an optional basis some countries collect separate data on other age groups, individuals aged 15 years or less, aged 75 or more).

3.7. Reference area

EU-Member States, Candidate countries, Iceland and Norway.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Annual time series are available from 2003 onwards.

The questions in the model questionnaire are adapted each year to measure the development of the use of ICT. Therefore not all variables have long time series. An overview of variables per year Variables collected - ICT usage in households and by individuals is published on the Information society dedicated website/comprehensive databases.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure Top

The most common units published are
% of households, % of individuals

All units and breakdowns available are listed in the descriptive documents on the dedicated section of Information society statistics at the end of the page under http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/information_society/data/comprehensive_databases

5. Reference Period Top

In general, data refer to the first quarter of the reference year. For details see model questionnaires and country specific notes

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Indicators from these surveys are among others used for benchmarking purposes (see under point 3.1). A set of benchmarking indicators using statistical information is to be provided through the ESS.

Regulation 808/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society. The objective of this framework regulation is to establish a common framework for the systematic production of Community statistics on the Information society. Annual implementing regulations allow for some flexibility in the content of the surveys. Follow this link to see all relevant legal acts.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

There is no fixed release calendar. In previous years, ICT data have been disseminated mid of December with a press release, Data in Focus or Statistics in Focus publications and the simultaneous update of all dissemination tables and comprehensive databases.

Since the mandatory transmission of micro-data and only a short list of aggregated (control) data, only this short list of indicators is published at the first release (December). All aggregated data compiled from micro-data become available in February following the survey year. 

8.2. Release calendar access

See 8.1.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Dissemination format') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Dissemination format Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Annual news releases on-line in December of the survey year or January of the following year, as well as news releases to specific occasions (eg Internet day)

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Ad-hoc Statistics in Focus (SIFs) and Statistics Explained articles, (previously also) Data in focus (DIFs), and other general publications.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

For the Households / individuals survey microdata were collected on an optional basis until 2010, on a mandatory basis since 2011. Microdata are available for sicientific purposes at Eurostat.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Identification of commentary on the occasion of statistical releases: No official comments are made on the occasion of data releases.
Internet address: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat

11. Accessibility of documentation Top
11.1. Documentation on methodology

The Methodological Manuals (link in Annexes) used for the survey on ICT usage in households / by individuals and in enterprises are annually compiled by Eurostat in co-operation with Member States.  Definitions and explanations can also be found in the Glossary of the annual model questionnaires (link in Annexes).

11.2. Quality management - documentation

National Statistical Institutes provide Eurostat with Quality reports comprising general methodological information of each survey, on statistical unit, target and frame population, sampling design, response and non-response, data processing and sampling errors. 

Summaries of these yearly metadata reports are published in the country specific notes (link in Annexes).

12. Quality management Top
12.1. Quality assurance

The Methodological Manual provides guidelines and standards for the implementation of the surveys in the Member States. Furthermore, the use of the Eurostat model questionnaire improves comparability of the results of these surveys.

12.2. Quality management - assessment

The Quality reports provided by NSIs which are survey execution reports allow to assess the survey carried out and to detect possible points where there is space for improvement.

The National Statistical Institutes provide "Quality reports" describing the general and some more specific methodological characteristics related to the various stages of the national surveys in households / by individuals (e.g. survey type, statistical units and target population, stratification and sampling design, information on item and unit non-response, grossing-up procedures, standard error calculations, etc).

13. Relevance Top
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

Users are considered to be the most important, who make most use of the data and contribute most to identifying/defining the topics to be covered. Hence, main users are consulted regularly (at hearings and task forces) for their needs already at a very early stage; also informal contacts with relevant users take place. User needs are taken into account throughout the whole discussion process of the model questionnaires.

Large part of the data collected are used in the context of the 2011 - 2015 benchmarking framework (endorsed by i2010 High Level Group in November 2009) for the Digital Agenda Scoreboard, Europe's strategy for a flourishing digital economy by 2020. ICT usage data are also used in the Consumer Conditions Scoreboard (purchases over the Internet) and in the Employment Guidelines (e-skills of individuals).

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Well established contacts within the Commission and with the OECD allow us a clear picture about the key users' satisfaction as to the following quality aspects: good accuracy and reliability of results, very good timeliness, satisfactory accessibility, good clarity and comparability over time and between countries, very good completeness and relevance.

13.3. Completeness

Very good completeness of variables and breakdowns - all variables, breakdowns and units are disseminated in the "Comprehensive databases" on the dedicated section "Information society" on the Eurostat website. Relevant variables and breakdowns are disseminated on that same section in "Database", a selection of relevant indicators are presented in form of TGM (Tables, Graphs, Maps) in "Main tables".

14. Accuracy Top
14.1. Accuracy - overall

Good accuracy and reliability of results in general while for some not enough information available yet (standard errors not calculated for all indicators).

For accuracy measures see also Methodological Manual, for example in chapter about Sampling design or Data processing.

14.2. Sampling error

Please see section 12.2 "Quality Assessment".

14.3. Non-sampling error

National Statistical Institutes report in the annual execution reports about sampling and non-sampling errors; overviews of non-response patterns are available in the Methodological Manual (see Unit non-response).  

15. Timeliness and punctuality Top
15.1. Timeliness

Data are delivered to Eurostat in the fourth quarter of the reference year and become available before the end of the same year (control data) respectively in February of the following year (aggregates on the basis of micro-data), in time to be taken into account for the benchmarking of the IS policy.

15.2. Punctuality

Data in past years have been released according to the release dates.

16. Comparability Top
16.1. Comparability - geographical

The model questionnaire is generally used in the Member States. Due to (small) differences in translation, in reference periods, in the used survey vehicle, in non-response treatment or different routing through the questionnaire, some results for some countries may be of reduced comparability. In these cases, notes are added in the metadata in the Variable specific footnotes (link in Annexes). 

16.2. Comparability - over time

For some indicators very good comparability over time is achieved (e.g. internet access) since 2003 while for others it is satisfactory (e.g. e-commerce). Restricted comparability over time is also a consequence of necessary changes in definitions in order to measure the development of ICT.

17. Coherence Top
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

Not applicable.

17.2. Coherence - internal

Not applicable.

18. Cost and Burden Top

In this survey around 150.000 households and 215.000 individuals were surveyed (sample figures refer to the 2011 surveys).

19. Data revision Top
19.1. Data revision - policy

EU aggregates are compiled when the available countries represent 60% of the population and 55% of the number of countries defining the aggregate.  When further national data become available they are automatically included in the existing aggregate. Hence Eurostat aggregates may change due to the arrival of further data over and above the 60%/55% rule.

19.2. Data revision - practice

Data transmitted by the reporting countries to Eurostat undergo detailed verifications by applying automated validation procedures at the level of variables and breakdowns. The second step of data verification consists in the time series checks. Before dissemination, results for the main indicators (for example the benchmarking indicators) are compared across countries.

If after these verifications and acceptance of data inconsistencies should be found, reporting countries may be asked to verify and revise their results.

20. Statistical processing Top
20.1. Source data

see point 4.2.0.

20.2. Frequency of data collection
20.3. Data collection

Data are generally collected through face to face or telephone interviews, see overview of data collection methods in the Methodological Manual.

20.4. Data validation

see 4.3.0.

20.5. Data compilation


20.6. Adjustment

Not applicable

21. Comment Top

see annexes

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top