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The Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)

The Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) is one of the largest and longest-running multidisciplinary panel studies in the world. Currently, about 30,000 people in 20,000 households are surveyed annually. Since the same households participate in the study every year, it is possible to follow respondents across the entire life course. The SOEP is a household sample and at the same time a longitudinal and thus multi-cohort sample.
The SOEP is based on random samples representing the population of all private households in Germany. This makes it an excellent tool for drawing general conclusions about the realities of people’s lives in Germany—and thus also about the effects of the corona crisis.

Sample(s) & compensation for missing survey data
For SOEP-CoV, SOEP households were divided into nine subsamples. The subsamples are structured in such a way that household composition within each subsample is representative of the population of private households in Germany. Subsamples 1 to 5 are surveyed every two weeks and subsamples 5 to 9 are surveyed weekly to measure how the crisis affects private households over time. A total of 12,000 households were asked to participate in the SOEP-CoV study. The (rounded) number of households in each of the nine samples is: 3000, 3000, 2000, 1000, 600, 600, 600, 600, 600. This means that more households will be interviewed at the beginning of the study than at the end. This design reflects the assumption that the effects of the crisis are likely to be more severe at the beginning and to decrease over time.

The survey started on April 1, 2020, and ended on June 28, 2020. A total of about 6,700 households completed the SOEP-CoV survey. Weighting has been used to compensate for distortions in the resulting data due to selective drop-outs (e.g., households with limited time available to participate).
Please find the documentation of the weighting process in this PDF document.

After the current acute phase of the pandemic has ended, a second survey will be conducted in which all participants in the first survey will be interviewed again.


Both the current survey and the second survey will be conducted using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). The survey institute that conducts the regular SOEP surveys, Kantar Public, is responsible for fieldwork. Repeated attempts will be made to reach respondents who cannot be reached initially by calling again on subsequent days and at different times of day.

The English questionnaires as PDF files (please referr to the Germans site for the German versions)

Wave one 1 (April-Jun 2020)

Welle 2 (Januar/Februar 2021)

Mehr über unsere Methodik und die Studie erfahren Sie in unserer englischsprachigen Fachpublikation:

Kühne, S., Kroh, M., Liebig, S. & S. Zinn, (2020): The Need for Household Panel Surveys in Times of Crisis: The Case of SOEP-CoV. In: Survey Research Methods 14(2): 195-203.