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 European Commission > Eurostat > Income and Living Conditions > Introduction


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:

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

The EU-Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) instrument is the EU reference source for comparative statistics on income distribution and social inclusion at the European level. It provides two types of annual data for 27 European Union countries, Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey:

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

EU-SILC does not rely on a common questionnaire or a survey but on the idea of a  “framework”. The latter defines the harmonised lists of target primary (annual) and secondary (every four years or less frequently) variables to be transmitted to Eurostat; common guidelines and procedures; common concepts (household and income) and classifications aimed at maximising comparability of the information produced.


EU-SILC sample size More

pdf iconEU-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 More

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. 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 below may be excluded from EU-SILC. All household members are surveyed, but only those aged 16 and more are interviewed.


Availability of results More
EU-SILC results are available in 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 Eurostat website as soon as new data become available. Following the Framework regulation Member States shall transmit to Eurostat the cross-sectional data of Year N by 30 November (N+1) and the longitudinal data of Year N by 31 March (N+2). For scientific purposes only, access to anonymised microdata is possible under specific conditions. New users’ databases are released in March and August of each year.

Please address any comments or questions concerning these webpages to the Eurostat team through 
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Last update 17.01.2014