Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS)
Nationales Bildungspanel (NEPS)

Education and Learning
Relevance for this Topic
Country Germany
More Topics


Contact information

Eva Akins
Nationales Bildungspanel NEPS
Wilhelmsplatz 3
96047 Bamberg
Phone: +49-(0)951-863-3429
Fax: +49-(0)951-863-3405
Email: nutzerservice.neps(at)

Timeliness, transparency

Data is available 18 month after field time.

Type of data


Type of Study

Longitude survey: long-term study of the same sample

Cross-section, regular

Multi-cohort-sequential design

Data gathering method

Telephone interview (CATI)

Face-to-face interview (CAPI, PAPI)

Access to data

Scientific Use Files (SUF), Remote Data Processing (RemoteNEPS), On-site workplaces are available. Data is only for staff with academic qualification working at scientific institutions (universities or research institutes).

Conditions of access

Access to data is granted after signing a contract. Preconditions: Certificate to prove affiliation with the scientific institution, detailed description of the research project, confidentiality obligation. The use of NEPS-data is basically free of charge. Additional requirements of the NEPS resulting from the work with these data are payable by the data user.

anonymised microdata


Data is available in German and English.


Starting with six cohorts drawn in the years from 2009 to 2012, more than 60,000 individuals were surveyed. In the future, new starting cohorts will be drawn (cohort succession). These cohorts are interviewed regularly, from the first research period up to 2013 at least yearly. Starting cohort 6 is analysed with regard to education in adult age. This cohort is a sample of 23- to 64-years old respondents from 2009.


clustered samples, based on institutions (groups in kindergarten, school classes or departments in colleges) and individual samples, Sample 6 (adults): population register sample, 240 communities, 271 sample points

institutions and population living in private households

no age limit

Cohort-sequential design

The NEPS concentrates on five dimensions of education, so-called pillars: • Pillar 1: Development of competencies in life-course • Pillar 2: Education in life-course specific learning environments • Pillar 3: Social inequality and educational decisions • Pillar 4: Educational processes of people with a migration background • Pillar 5: Returns of education The life-course is subdivided into 8 stages: • Stage 1: New-born and entrance into educational institutions of early childhood • Stage 2: Kindergarten and enrollment • Stage 3: Primary school and transitions to secondary school I • Stage 4: Learning in secondary school I and transitions to secondary school II • Stage 5: Upper secondary school and transitions to college, vocational training or labour market • Stage 6: Start of a vocational training and later on entry into labour market • Stage 7: Higher education (university or university of applied sciences) • Stage 8: Continuing VET (Vocational education and training) and continuing general education

• Becker, R., & Solga, H. (Hrsg.). Soziologische Bildungsforschung. Sonderheft 52 der Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 2012. • Blossfeld, H.-P., Leuze, K., Schneider, T., & von Maurice, J. Das Nationale Bildungspanel – Grundstruktur und Analysepotential unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Erwachsenenbildung und lebenslangem Lernen. Hessische Blätter für Volksbildung, 4/2011, 323-331. • Blossfeld, H.-P., & Schneider, T. Auf dem Weg zu einer verbesserten Bildungsforschung: Das Nationale Bildungspanel (NEPS). In M. Heimbach-Steins, G. Kruip & A. B. Kunze (Hrsg.), Bildungsgerechtigkeit - interdisziplinäre Perspektiven (2009): 29-38. Bielefeld: wbv. • Blossfeld, H.-P. Education Across the Life Course. In German Data Forum (RatSWD) (Ed.), Building on progress. Expanding the research infrastructure for the social, economic, and behavioral sciences (2) (2010): 825-840. Opladen: Budrich UniPress. • Blossfeld, H.-P. , H.-G. Roßbach, & J. von Maurice (Eds.). Education as a Lifelong Process - The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). (Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft; Special Issue 14/ 2011: 283 - 299. Heidelberg: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. • Kaufmann, Katrin. Informelles Lernen im Spiegel des Weiterbildungsmonitorings. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2012. • Kaufmann, Katrin, & Widany, Sarah. Berufliche Weiterbildung – Gelegenheits- und Teilnahmestrukturen. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft (ZfE) 16 (1) (2013): 29-54.


• NUTS: level 1 (federal state/Bundesland), level 2 (government region/Regierungsbezirk), level 3 (district/Kreis) • KldB 1988 and KldB 2010 - German Classification of Occupations • ISCO-88 and ISCO-08 - International Standard Classification of Occupation • ISEI - International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status • SIOPS - Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale • MPS - Magnitude Prestige Scale • EGP - Erikson, Goldthorpe, and Portocarero’s class categories • BLK - Blossfeld’s Occupational Classification • CASMIN - Comparative Analysis of Social Mobility in Industrial Nations • ISCED-97 : International Standard Classification of Education • Years of Education

No linkage by data user possible

Data quality

Not analysed

Not known

Not known


The NEPS is a promising approach for educational research in adult age. In comparison to the AES, it provides panel data, which allow for longitudinal analyses. Further advantages of the NEPS are the recording of educational participation with regard to life stages and the more comprehensive recording of context information. The NEPS is designed as a long-standing study. It has an innovative concept of “pillars”, which is realized by investigating different cohorts from new-borns to adults. For each of these cohorts, longitudinal information is collected for the pillars development of competence, learning environments, educational decisions, ethnic background and educational returns. The NEPS is limited to adults up to the age of 65. With regard to the issue of lifelong learning and to the interaction of educational, occupational and life-courses, the NEPS could be a very valuable data source if the sample would also include older people. A further weakness is the recording of informal learning. Only few forms of informal learning are registered. There is no differentiation for most types of informal learning whether they were assessed as being useful for professional or for private purposes.

  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Andreas Motel-Klingebiel
  • (see Partners)