Welcome to the website of the Social Survey

This is an empirical analysis of economic and social conditions of students' life in Germany conducted on behalf of the Deutsches Studentenwerk.

From an international perspective, the Social Survey is a unique long-term time series analysis. Nothing quite like it has ever been conducted in other countries. German students were questioned for the first time back in 1951. Since then, every third year the survey has examined the social and economic situation of students as a cross-section analysis. The most recent survey is the 20th Social Survey carried out during the 2012 summer semester. The 21st Social Survey will start in May 2016.

These surveys have been regularly prepared by Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung (DZHW, formerly HIS GmbH) on behalf of the Deutsches Studentenwerk (a federation of 58 German student unions that work on a voluntary basis), and funded and published by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Core issues of these surveys include:

  • study characteristics: subject, degree being studied, number of semesters enrolled, and course of study
  • sociodemographic characteristics: age, gender, family status, social origins
  • students' funding and expenses, state assistance
  • time spent on study-related activities and employment
  • accommodation and level of satisfaction with living situations

The Social Survey also includes the results of a bilingual questionnaire used to assess the special situation of foreign students who have come to Germany to study.

Many of the results of the Social Survey were included in the German data submitted to EUROSTUDENT. This project compares the living conditions of students in more than 20 European countries and is coordinated by HIS GmbH.

In view of the growing interest in data from individual countries in an international context, and the process towards a European Higher Education Area, selected results of the Social Survey have been translated into English along with the special report “Internationalization of Study”, which focuses on the topics of “foreign students in Germany” and “German students abroad”.

The following reports are available for download here: