Naciones Unidas

Eurostat microdata

Usage of the microdata


Most microdata sets released by Eurostat are partially anonymized. The individual microdata set pages on Eurostat’s website provide vital information to be considered when drafting the research project description (research proposal)  

We strongly recommend that you read the document: “How to use microdata properly: Self-study material for the users of EUROSTAT microdata sets“. These Eurostat guidelines provide an understanding of the value of microdata and the role of researchers in accessing and maintaining access to data. As a user of the data, you have a role to play and by acting appropriately, you reinforce the message that scientific research is a safe use of confidential data, increasing the chances of data continuing to be made available.  Safe working practices are important for maintaining access to confidential data.  

The self-study material will also explain how to avoid breaches of procedures or confidentiality (see Breach of confidentiality) and how to manage statistical disclosure, safe and unsafe statistics, and the protection of tables and graphs. 

Each research team member is fully responsible for the protection of this data. Accept that some restrictions are the price you pay for privileged access to detailed data - 'privileged' because not everyone is allowed access to use this data. 

When you are working with sensitive data, it is a good idea to pay special attention to the ‘five safes’ of Eurostat.   

Safe projects: Is this project making appropriate and lawful use of the data? Are there issues you should make the data collectors aware of? Does a public benefit need to be identified? 

Safe setting: How are you storing and accessing the data? 

Safe data: Could an unauthorized person, given access to this data, breach confidentiality? 

Safe outputs: Are the statistical outputs you produce (tables, regressions, odds ratios, indexes) likely to cause a breach of confidentiality? 

Safe people: Are you acting appropriately to ensure the effective operation of the other elements? 

Regarding with ECLAC internal procedures to monitor and internally manage the access to microdata, the HSC Library as a Data Manager will receive the medium containing the microdata requested in the research proposal and will be also responsible for storing it in a locked folderd until the research project ends. After it is used, the medium will be destroyed. 

The microdata contained in the CD-ROM will be copied unto a workspace on the server specially assigned by STIC, in a standalone password-protected computer located in the HSC Library. Access to this machine is only allowed to the researchers named in the research proposal.  The HSC Library will keep a record of the staff to monitor access to Eurostat data.  

The intermediate results of analysis containing confidential data must be stored in a protected environment. ECLAC researchers must ensure that any results of the research published or otherwise disseminated do not contain information that may permit the identification of individual statistical units (persons, households, enterprises, etc.).  

Clear data description, annotation, contextual information and documentation are being kept by researchers, this should explain how the data was created, what the data meansdetails about the content and structure, and any manipulations that may have taken place, ensuring that research data can be accessible, understandable and reused by researchers. This information should be stored in a ToDo text File”. 

Only when the microdata is properly processed and anonymized, can the information be removed from the standalone computer. 

After expiry or completion of the project indicated in the research proposal, the Principal Researcher must send to the HSC Library a dossier containing all the documentation and results based on Eurostat data; description, annotation, contextual information and details on how the microdata was treated; the code and the software used to clean or run script over the data. 

The research results based on Eurostat data will be provided to ECLAC Library to be properly stored and preserved and to be submitted in accordance with Eurostat Rule 1.2 Basic rights and obligations of staff.  

To accomplish this requirement, the HSC Library and DPPO will be in charge of sending the information to Eurostat. 

Preservation of the information produced under the research project will be stored in the Library platform (DSpace) 

Please contact the “Data Manager” at the ECLAC Santiago Library for further queries.  


The medium containing confidential data must be stored in a locked room and access is restricted to authorized persons only. 

The confidential data must be stored on a password-protected computer. Access to the data must be restricted to the authorized researchers named in the research proposal. This computer will be located at Hernán Santa Cruz Library. 

After expiry or completion of the project indicated in the research proposal (or in case of termination of access by Eurostat), the Principal Researcher must destroy the dataset and any data or variables derived from it and sign a declaration to the effect that the researcher has ensured that all data has been destroyed. This declaration applies to the original data sent by Eurostat and to all subsets of the original. 

No copy or part thereof the data may be made nor, may any data leave the research entity’s premises.


The researchers shall state the source of the data by referring to:

‘This study/report/paper is based on data from Eurostat, name of the survey, reference year(s)’ and add the following disclaimer when disseminating the results of work to which the research proposal relates: ‘The responsibility for all conclusions drawn from the data lies entirely with the author(s)’.