Were you questioned as part of the census and have you already paid your property tax? Then you shouldn’t feel too safe, because the state hasn’t yet used every opportunity to get on your nerves. Anyone who receives mail from the microcensus will quickly notice what a real time waster it is.

The so-called “small census” is a legally binding, representative survey of households in Germany. It has been carried out jointly by the federal and state statistical offices for many years and is unknown to large parts of the population.

Unlike the large census, however, the microcensus is conducted annually. Around 1 percent of the population is selected at random, that’s over 800,000 people. And there is a lot of paperwork waiting for them. Sample questionnaires sometimes contain more than 100 DIN A4 pages.

The microcensus is intended to collect data on the population structure and on the economic and social situation of the population. Information is requested on family and civil partnership, labor market and employment, occupation and training.

The statistics are used by those responsible in parliament and administration, by science and the media. All EU member states are legally obliged to collect certain information in a uniform manner. This means that the results are internationally comparable.

The microcensus is carried out for two main reasons:

The microcensus is conducted every year and usually starts in January, and can be contacted throughout the year. There are three ways to do this: telephone, online or paper questionnaires. On-site visits are also possible in principle, but only in exceptional cases due to the pandemic.

The data collected is relevant, for example, for adjustments to parental or housing benefits or pensions. The results also flow into the poverty and wealth reports of the federal government and the federal states as well as into the children and youth report of the federal government.

Every four years, the microcensus asks in-depth questions on the subject of housing, and this will also be the case in 2022. The data from this additional program provide information about the home ownership rate or the average rent burden of households in Germany, for example.

Across Germany, more than 30,000 households are written to for the microcensus per month by the responsible state statistical office. Anyone who has been selected is legally obliged to provide information. In order to be able to make statements about changes and developments in the population, the selected households are usually surveyed up to four times (maximum twice within a year).