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Microdata files

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Microdata files are collections of elementary data containing information on individuals, households or enterprises.

Istat provides microdata files from its surveys free of charge for study and research purposes or for statistical-scientific purposes, in compliance with the regulations in force. The files released are those available at the time of the request and may be subject to statistical revisions.

ISTAT disseminates different types of microdata files in order to respond to different information needs:

 


PUBLIC USE FILES

Public use files are collections of elementary data that can be downloaded free of charge from this website.

Istat disseminates two types of microdata for public use:

  • MIcro.STAT files are developed for some surveys starting from the corresponding scientific use file to which methods of statistical disclosure control have been applied to reduce the risk of identification of statistical units. In some cases, processing of mIcro.STAT files may produce results that differ from those published or calculated from the corresponding files for research purposes;
  • Historical public use files are developed from standard files already produced in the past; historical public use files have a different structure from mIcro.STAT due to a different methodology of statistical disclosure control;

These files are released in text format only.

How to request public use files

To acquire such files it is necessary to register in the dedicated area of the Istat website (or to authenticate for registered users) and to accept the terms of use.
European public use files are available on the Eurostat website.


STANDARD FILES

Standard files regard a number of statistical surveys on individuals and households. They do not contain any direct identifiers and are processed using procedures that do not allow them to be linked to individual respondents. The confidentiality protection applied to these files partially limits their information content compared to the source files.

Standard files are released upon duly motivated request for study and research purposes.

To acquire standard files the requesting party must:

  • briefly describe the research content and the purposes of the data use;
  • indicate the place where the data will be stored and processed;
  • undertake to use the data only for the stated purposes;
  • undertake not to provide third parties with the elementary data, allowing access, under their own responsibility, only to persons directly involved in the work for which they have been requested.

How to request standard files
To request a Standard file it is necessary to access the Istat Cont@ct Centre and send the request form (doc | pdf), duly filled in and signed.

Standard files are no longer produced by the Institute as they are gradually being replaced by Scientific use files. Therefore, only those files that have already been disseminated can be requested.

Standard files are issued in text format, accompanied by the relevant metadata, but do not contain data import procedures.


SCIENTIFIC USE FILES (SUFs)

Scientific use files are specially released for the purposes of scientific research and relate to statistical surveys on individuals, households and enterprises. These are elementary data files, with no direct identifiers, which have been subject to control methods to protect confidentiality.

Scientific use files may be requested exclusively for carrying out specific research projects by researchers belonging to Entities recognised as research institutions by Comstat or included in the list of research Institutions recognised by Eurostat.

Failing such requirement, it is necessary to activate the procedure for the recognition of the relevant Entity as a matter of priority.

How to request SUFs

To apply for access to SUFs, the Principal researcher of a recognised research entity has to submit the following documents to Istat:

  • Research proposal, subject to eligibility requirement (Annex 3) | doc | pdf;
  • Confidentiality Declaration of the Principal Researcher Annex 4 | doc | pdf;
  • Confidentiality Declaration of the Individual Researchers Annex 5 | doc | pdf;
  • Additional certification (in case of Joint projects) Annex 6 | doc | pdf;
  • Copy of the identity document of the Principal Researcher;

The Principal Researcher

The Principal Researcher should have one of the following qualifications: university professor (full, associate, aggregate or contract professor); researcher or similar positions; research grant-holder, manager of recognized research institutes, employee of entities carrying out research activities, member of scientific societies.

Contact person for microdata requests

The Contact person for microdata requests shall be the same as the contact person indicated in the Application form for Recognition as a research entity; in the case of recognition by Eurostat, the name of the “Contact person” shall be given.

Preliminary research proposal

The Principal Researcher may send a preliminary research proposal for eligibility assessment to the address rilasciomicrodati@istat.it, describing the project and explaining the scientific purpose and relevance of the data requested, as indicated in Annex 3.

Joint project

A joint project is a research project involving the collaboration of two or more entities. All participating organisations must be recognized as research entities. Annex 6 must also be signed by the Contact person for microdata requests of each related entity.

All requested documents, duly filled in and signed, should be sent by one of the following methods:

The files are released in text format, together with the import programs for STATA, SAS and R. Istat does not guarantee that the functions contained in the above programs are error-free and assumes no responsibility for the output resulting from their use.

European microdata files can be obtained from Eurostat by following the instructions given in the dedicated section of the website.


FILES FOR SISTAN

Files for Sistan are elementary data collections reserved for the Statistical offices or entities belonging to the National statistical system. These data are collected for statistical purposes and are not subject to further methods of statistical disclosure control.

Such files may be requested for the purpose of:

  1. implementing the National Statistical Programme;
  2. processing statistical data in connection with the institutional activities or the geographical area of the applicant. In this case, a brief description of the project must also be submitted.

Personal data with identifiers may be released only in exceptional cases, in which it is absolutely and strictly necessary to achieve the set objectives.

The request for access to the files for Sistan shall clearly state the nature of data, the subject matter and the purpose of the request.

How to request files for Sistan

To request a File for Sistan it is necessary to access the Istat Cont@ct Centre and send the request form (doc | pdf), duly filled in and signed.

After approval for release, the requested data shall be sent via the Contact centre.

SECURE USE FILES

Secure use files are microdata files of all Istat’s statistical surveys, containing no direct identifiers, no special categories of personal data and no personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences. Istat makes them available within its Laboratory for the Analysis of ELEmentari Data (ADELE), offering the world of scientific research a tool for carrying out independent analyses on survey microdata, in compliance with the data protection regulations.

What is the ADELE Laboratory?
The Laboratory for the Analysis of Elementary Data (ADELE) is a physical data centre where researchers may access – upon request – survey microdata, to which no further methods of statistical disclosure control have been applied. In the request it must be specified that access is requested for scientific purposes and that the information already made available by Istat through other tools (I.Stat database, editorial production, datasets, databases, microdata files, customised processing) is not enough to achieve the research objectives.

In the Laboratory, data security and statistical confidentiality are guaranteed by strict control on working methods and users’ analyses results.

Access to the ADELE Laboratory is only allowed to researchers from Entities recognised as research institutions by Comstat or included in the list of research institutions recognised by Eurostat. In all other cases, it is first necessary to apply for recognition.

In the ADELE Laboratory it is possible to conduct statistical analyses on:

  • elementary data collected and validated by Istat through the various surveys on individuals, households and businesses;
  • some databases integrating different sources, designed to expand information at the level of individual enterprises

To look for your data of interest, you can consult the list of Istat surveys.

A variety of software tools is available for specialized users at the Laboratory: SAS, Stata, R and Spss. No technical/methodological assistance is provided.

Analysis results are verified for compliance with the given data protection legislation after completion of the project. Only results that comply with the defined rules can be issued.

For detailed information on the ADELE Laboratory, researchers may refer to the User Guide.

How to request the Secure use files

The Principal researcher from a recognized research entity shall send the following documents for eligibility assessment:

  1. Research Proposal, subject to eligibility requirement (Annex 3) | docpdf
  2. Confidentiality Declaration of the Principal Researcher Annex 4 | docpdf
  3. Confidentiality Declaration of the individual Researchers Annex 5 | docpdf
  4. Additional certification (in case of Joint projects) Annex 6 | docpdf
  5. Copy of the identity document of the Principal Researcher

The Principal Researcher

The Principal Researcher should have one of the following qualifications: university professor (full, associate, aggregate or contract professor); researcher or similar positions; research grant-holder, manager of recognized research institutes, employee of entities carrying out research activities, member of scientific societies.

Contact person for microdata requests

The Contact person for microdata requests shall be the same as the contact person indicated in the Application form for Recognition as a research entity; in the case of recognition by Eurostat, the name of the “Contact person” shall be given.

Preliminary research proposal

The Principal Researcher may send a preliminary research proposal for eligibility assessment to the address rilasciomicrodati@istat.it, describing the project and explaining the scientific purpose and relevance of the data requested, as indicated in Annex 3.

Joint project

A joint project is a research project involving the collaboration of two or more entities. All participating organisations must be recognized as research entities. Annex 6 must also be signed by the Contact person for microdata requests of each related entity.

All requested documents, duly filled in and signed, should be sent by one of the following methods:

The ADELE Laboratory is in Rome, via Cesare Balbo 16, and in each regional office in Italy (except the Institute of Statistics of the Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano).

Further types of output can be requested through the Personalised data analyses.

INTEGRATED FILES

Integrated files are obtained by integrating microdata from several statistical surveys. They can be released to the Sistan Statistical offices and are accessible in the Istat ADELE Laboratory (Files for ADELE).

List of integrated files

 

Last edit: 14 September 2021