The German Ageing Survey

The German Ageing Survey (Deutscher AlterssurveyDEAS) is a nationwide representative cross-sectional and longitudinal survey of the German population aged over 40. It is funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). Currently, the completed survey waves for the years 1996, 2002, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2020 and 2020/21 are available. Every six years (1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014), a nationally representative sample of 40-85 year-olds is drawn and subsequently followed up. In 2014 a further base sample of 40-85 year-olds was interviewed as well as panel participants from earlier waves. In 2017, all panel-willing participants of the previous DEAS-waves have been interviewed once more.

Between November 2020 and March 2021, the last DEAS wave was conducted. Anonymised data of all survey waves are available as Scientific Use Files.

The design of the DEAS allows three perspectives of analysis: (a) analysis of social change, (b) analysis of intra-individual change, and (c) analysis of historical change of individual ageing trajectories.

Participants are questioned in detail on their objective and subjective living situation. In addition, tests of cognitive capability and physical functioning are applied. The DEAS has a cohort-sequential longitudinal design, a broad thematic spectrum, national representativity with a comparatively large number of cases and a relatively long observation period, and is hence a unique German database for interdisciplinary research on the living conditions and life courses as well as the subjective perception and scheme of life of ageing and older individuals.
The DEAS thus covers a broad spectrum of topics. The study focuses on the overarching issue of the interrelation between diversity, social inequality, and quality of later life. It looks at two basic time perspectives: processes of social change and individual development over time. This involves an interdisciplinary link-up which notably includes socio-political, gerontological, sociological, psychological, economic and nursing science related issues.

Access to DEAS microdata

DEAS microdata is available free of charge to scientific researchers for non-profitable purposes. The Research Data Centre provides access and support to scholars interested in using DEAS data for their research. Data from completed DEAS waves run through a process of editing and are made anonymous. However, for reasons of data protection, signing a data distribution contract is required prior to obtaining the data. Click here to get more information on data access and the application form.


Information on the samples and the survey instruments can be found in the DEAS documentation. There, you will also find a quick introduction of the scientific use files (SUF) for each DEAS wave (to date only in German) giving further information to drawing the sample, the scheme of variable classification as well as explanatory notes on user-friendly generated variables and constructs available.