Starting Cohort Adults (SC6)

Version 5.1.0


The information on this site refers to version 5.1.0. Information on the latest version you get here.

Date of Release


Principal Investigator

Hans-Günther Roßbach, Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories, Bamberg (Germany)


If you publish with NEPS data, it is mandatory to quote the following reference:

Blossfeld, H.-P., Roßbach, H.-G., & von Maurice, J. (Eds.). (2011). Education as a lifelong process: The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 14. (Full text)

In addition, publications using data from this release must include the following acknowledgement:

This paper uses data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 6 – Adults, doi:10.5157/NEPS:SC6:5.1.0. From 2008 to 2013, NEPS data were collected as part of the Framework Programme for the Promotion of Empirical Educational Research funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). As of 2014, the NEPS survey is carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) at the University of Bamberg in cooperation with a nationwide network.

Click here for the German citation.

Für alle Publikationen mit NEPS-Daten ist es verpflichtend, folgende Referenz zu zitieren:

Blossfeld, H.-P., H.-G. Roßbach und J. von Maurice (Hrsg.) (2011). Education as a Lifelong Process – The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft: Sonderheft 14. (Volltext)

Zusätzlich müssen alle Publikationen den folgenden Hinweis auf den jeweiligen Scientific-Use-File, aus dem die verwendeten NEPS-Daten stammen, enthalten:

Diese Arbeit nutzt Daten des Nationalen Bildungspanels (NEPS) Startkohorte 6 (Erwachsene), doi:10.5157/NEPS:SC6:5.1.0. Die Daten des NEPS wurden von 2008 bis 2013 als Teil des Rahmenprogramms zur Förderung der empirischen Bildungsforschung erhoben, welches vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) finanziert wurde. Seit 2014 wird NEPS vom Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe e.V. (LIfBi) an der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg in Kooperation mit einem deutschlandweiten Netzwerk weitergeführt.


Within this partial study conducted by the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), data on courses of education and occupation as well as on competence acquisition across adult life courses are collected. In order to be able to study adult education, the entire spectrum of educational activities and learning processes (formal, non-formal, and informal), decisions resulting in their participation, and the previous life course of the interviewees (especially the course of education and occupation, regional mobility, relationships, and children) are recorded in detail. Similar to the lack of knowledge concerning adult education in Germany, there is very little information on competences and their changes after school. This is why this partial study collects data on competences in reading, mathematics, sciences, and ICT as well as on non-cognitive skills (such as personality, motivation and social skills).
The data should enable researchers to
  • trace the acquisition of education across the adultlife course, and to follow the courses of further education and occupation of younger cohorts after their job entry;
  • study why individuals decide to participate or not to participate in formal or non-formal learning activities after initial vocational training;
  • describe the competences of different groups of adults in Germany and to explain competence development in adult life as well as the importance of the employment situation in this context;
  • analyze the impact of specific educational contexts in adult life, especially of the employment situation and family constellation, on educational choices and participation in further training;
  • estimate the returns to formal qualifications, competences and professional experience in terms of wages, occupational careers and in other areas of life, e.g., well-being or volunteer work;
  • generate empirical results on competences of migrants, their resources, their participation in and returns to further training;
  • identify opportunities and obstacles for learning processes and education in later adult life.
The field time of the adult survey started already in 2007, i.e. prior to the foundation of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). The adult survey 2007/08 was conducted by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) under the name of “Working and Learning in a Changing World” (ALWA). Afterwards, the data collection of the adult survey continued under the umbrella of the NEPS from November 2009 to August 2010.


Data and documents are released for academic research. This release is uniquely identified by one DOI. All data sets of this release are available in different languages (English, German), formats (Stata, SPSS), and degrees of anynomization (download, remote access, and on-site).

Contributing to this substudy are particularly: stage 8 and pillars 1-5.

Starting Cohort Adults

Access the Data

The download of NEPS data presupposes a valid Data Use Agreement. Eligible applicants are all individuals in possession of a university degree employed by a scientific institution. Data access is free of charge.

(external) Data Access Request Forms

Registered data users can download the NEPS Scientific Use Files by logging in to the website with their personal nu-number and password.

(external) Data Download Center

Documentation (Version 5.1.0)

More Information

In addition to the overview on this site, we offer further information about the data from Starting Cohort 6 (Adults):