Promising Practice

Collection of Anti-Discrimination Data in Representative Longitudinal Surveys – Stock-take and room for development

Erhebung von Antidiskriminierungsdaten in repräsentativen Wiederholungsbefragungen – Bestandsaufnahme und Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten
The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) published a study in 2018 on the status of equality data in 20 large-scale, representative surveys in Germany. The aim was to produce a systematic overview of the questions, categories or variables relating to discrimination currently available in those surveys and to discuss ways to expand the collection of these data.
Institutional and structural guidelines
Map existing sources
Operational guidelines
Collect information on self-identification
Mainstream intersectional approach
Gender identity or expression
Racial or ethnic origin
Religion or belief
Sexual orientation
Intersex / variation of sex characteristics
All grounds / Cross-cutting
Includes multiple / intersectional discrimination


In this page:

Why was the practice needed?

The aim of the study was to produce a systematic overview of equality data collected in large-scale, representative, longitudinal surveys in Germany. The underlying rationale is that both political reporting and research on discrimination require data to measure the prevalence and evolution of discrimination on grounds of the protected characteristics set out in Germany’s General Equal Treatment Act.

Therefore, there was a need to assess to what extent these requirements can be met with existing data or have to be complemented and refined. In addition to identifying data gaps and making suggestions on how to expand the variables surveyed, the study detected available data which so far had not been conceptualised as equality data but which can also be used to analyse equality issues.

A further source of inspiration to conduct this study were the recommendations concerning the collection of equality data contained in the European Handbook on Equality Data.

How was it implemented?

The study was commissioned by the Federal Antidiscrimination Agency (FADA) and conducted by three researchers, Dr Anne-Luise Baumann, Vera Egenberger and Dr Linda Supik. It analysed 20 large-scale, representative, longitudinal surveys in Germany, including the micro-census, the socio-economic panel and different surveys related to education, work, living conditions and health, in connection with the grounds of discrimination in Germany’s General Equal Treatment Act: gender, ethnic origin or racist discrimination, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual identity.

In October 2018, FADA published the report and hosted a conference to present and discuss with relevant stakeholders (research institutes, civil society organisations, public administrations) the analysis.


  • The study report offers an account of all questions related to discrimination and all sociodemographic variables corresponding to the six grounds of discrimination in the General Equal Treatment Act currently available in the surveys. It also analyses to what extent the surveys respect the conditions of a human-rights based approach to data collection. This includes the principles of participation, self-identification, anonymity, voluntariness, informed consent. It also takes into consideration aspects of intersectionality. Finally, the report includes recommendations as to how to expand the group of variables or adapt existing ones to increase the range of equality data obtained.

Key success factors

  • There is a growing discussion on how to collect more differentiated equality data in Germany in recent years. This has been partly triggered by criticism raised by both NGOs and international institutions such as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. These developments created a need for this study
  • The study included the perspectives of both groups or communities affected by discrimination as well as researchers responsible for conducting the survey. It therefore fostered an exchange between different stakeholders, which proved to be beneficial to the end results. Technical information

Technical information

  • Data sources covered: Household or individual surveys.
  • Areas of life covered: Employment; Education; Health; Social Protection; Housing and living conditions; Access to goods and services.
  • Target audience: Research institutes responsible for conducting the surveys; public administrations as funding providers and users of equality data; civil society organisations representing groupsaffected by discrimination
  • Duration: October 2017-October 2018, revision/updating in future possible
  • Geographical scope: National
  • Leading institution: Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA)
  • Other organisations involved/consulted: Two focus groups convened by the researchers conducting the study to discuss ways of improving the collection of the data analysed, one with representatives from seven civil society organisations and the second one with 12 researchers from different academic backgrounds (the list of consulted actors can be found on p. 212 of the study report).
  • Financial & human resources: Budget: €35,000; Source of the budget: research budget of the FADA; Staff: No information provided


Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency / Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes

Rainer Stocker 

Email: rainer (dot) stocker (at) ads (dot) bund (dot) de