Sources & Methods


The European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions Survey (EU-SILC) is a harmonised statistical enquiry aimed at collecting comparable data on income, health and disability, employment, and material deprivation.  In this context, indicators derived from EU-SILC aim to identify the population categories that are most prone to poverty and material deprivation.  This survey is carried out under European Framework Regulation (EC) No 1177/2003.

Methodological description of survey

EU-SILC is a panel survey for which the rotational design with four sub-samples is adopted.  In this way, each group of households is included in the sample for four waves of the survey and information is collected over a period of four consecutive years.  The reference population of EU-SILC is all private households and their current members residing in Malta at the time of data collection.

Through EU-SILC two types of data can be derived:

  • ​Cross-sectional data pertaining to fixed time periods, with variables on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions; and
  • Longitudinal data pertaining to individual-level changes over time, usually observed over four years.

A one-stage sampling design is implemented.  Systematic random sampling is used each year to select the new panel of 1,500 households to be added to the sample to be interviewed.

The collection modes for SILC are mainly CAPI and CATI.  The CATI method is utilised for households from previous waves made up of three persons or less, all of whom were either aged 65 years or more, or under 12 years.  All other households are contacted by the CAPI method.  PAPI is used in occasional circumstances where it might be preferable to use this format. 

Accuracy and reliability of data

Information on the accuracy and reliability of data can be viewed in a dedicated quality report available on the NSO’s metadata website.

Timeliness and punctuality of data

EU-SILC microdata for a particular reference year N is submitted to Eurostat in 3 phases.  Early transmission is submitted in December N; regular transmission is submitted in June N+1; and a second regular transmission is submitted in November N+1. 

The main output from EU-SILC on a national level is an annual news release with salient indicators.  Occasionally, other news released containing EU-SILC figures are published.  These are accessible on the NSO’s website and are published on the pre-established date, as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar which can be viewed also on the NSO’s website.

Accessibility and clarity of data

The publication on EU-SILC figures was produced up to reference year 2010.  The news releases ‘Focus on Children and the Elderly’ and ‘Main Dwellings and Material Deprivation’ were released up to the statistical year 2013.  In 2016, a one-time news release entitled ‘Main Dwellings’ was published for reference year 2015.

Every year, a quality report is submitted to Eurostat to highlight methodological issues involved in the survey.  A similar report is also produced at a national level and disseminated on NSO’s metadata website. 

Coherence and comparability/consistency of data

EU-SILC data is a harmonised statistical enquiry aimed at collecting comparable data on income, poverty and social exclusion, and is coordinated by Eurostat.  This allows for comparability of results across the European Union.

Data has been collected in a consistent manner since 2005.  In view of this, the data can be considered to be comparable and reconcilable over time.

Labour-related figures from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are not exactly comparable due to differences in definitions and classification between the two sources. 


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