Get to know more in detail some of our datasets and latest additions.
CH-X – Surveys 2016-2017 about youth mobility
The Swiss Federal Surveys of Adolescents, known as the “ch-x surveys”, are conducted as part of the recruitment process for the Swiss army. They cover almost an entire cohort of young men aged 18-19 and are supplemented with a sample of young women, carried out outside the army. Enjoying a long tradition and strong reputation, these surveys address topics of relevance to young adults, and represent a unique source of data for research. FORS won the competition for the 2016-17 edition of the ch-x survey.

The survey 2016-17


The ch-x 2016-17 survey addresses geographical mobility with a focus on temporary stays of young Swiss people in another linguistic area of Switzerland or abroad. Such stays can be of short duration (1-3 weeks) or longer (more than three weeks) and may take various forms: educational exchanges, language stays, backpacking trips, internships, or voluntary work experiences, etc. To a lesser extent, questions were also asked about other forms of mobility, such as residential mobility and migration. While some studies (mainly Anglo-Saxon and qualitative) have addressed temporary mobility from the perspective of university students, the ch-x 2016-17 survey represents a unique data source, both in terms of its sample size and population characteristics – more than 40,000 young people from all backgrounds, in education or employment, mobile and non-mobile.


A total of 106 questions were asked to more than 40,000 young men aged 18-19 years as part of the recruitment procedure. A sample of women in the same age range also responded to the questionnaire. After data cleaning, the final database consists of 40,503 young men and 2,126 young women. The questionnaire consists of seven sections: socio-economic characteristics, educational and professional background, mobility experiences, living environment, plans for temporary stays, attitudes and opinions, and finally questions on the respondents’ families.

Access to data and documentation

Full documentation and data are available in FORSbase.


The 2016-17 survey gave rise in September 2019 to a publication for the general public, produced in collaboration with the University of Lausanne: “Entre mobilité temporaire et ancrage local : portrait de la jeunesse suisse”, available here (publication in French with German and Italian summaries). An English summary is available here.

Other articles and publications:

Rapport d’activité

Further information on the ch-x website, or contact Alexandra Stam at FORS.

CCS – Comparative Candidate Survey
The Comparative Candidate Survey (CCS) is a response to the growing number of candidate surveys in the Anglo-Saxon world and beyond. More or less regular candidate surveys are conducted in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The rationale of the CCS is to harmonise these dispersed efforts and give them a cross-nationally comparable core. The CCS is an internationally coordinated effort. It combines an internationally agreed and locally adapted core questionnaire with questions that try to capture national and election specifics. The core candidate questionnaire specifically focuses on the issue of individualization of electoral campaigns, i.e. the empirical question of the extent to which candidates run their own campaigns distinct from those of their parties.

CCS has been running since 2005, and candidate surveys using the CCS wave I questionnaire were conducted in about 30 parliamentary elections. Wave II was fielded in 2013 and is planned to run until the end of 2018.

Data access

Data from the CCS are available on our online system FORSbase. The CCS wave I cumulative dataset (2005 -2013) includes a total of 32 elections from the following countries : Australia ; Austria ; Belgium ; Canada ; Czech Republic ; Denmark ; Estonia ; Finland ; Germany ; Greece ; Hungary ; Iceland ; Ireland ; Italy ; Luxembourg* ; Malta ; Netherlands ; New Zealand ; Norway; Portugal ; Romania ; Sweden ; Switzerland ; and the United Kingdom. The CCS wave II cumulative dataset (2013 – 2018) includes a total of 18 elections from 17 countries: Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Greece, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, Romania, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Chile, and Belgium.

If you are not already registered with FORSbase, you will need to do so (click here to register). After logging in and arriving at the CCS catalogue page, click on the tab “datasets”, select the dataset and then click on “download data”. After submitting your application, your request will need to be approved first by the CCS data access committee (usually 1-2 business days). Once approved, you will be able to access the data immediately within FORSbase.

Study and dataset description in our FORSbase catalogue.

Further information on the CCS website, or contact Laura Scaperrotta at FORS.

COCON – Swiss Survey of Children and Youth

Major Research Aims

COCON investigates from a life course perspective the interplay between the social contexts of growing up and the competence development of children and adolescents.

Analytical Interests

COCON examines the antecedents and consequences of the coping with early life course transitions, investigating thereby how the interplay of social contexts and young people’s development is affected.

Major areas of the date collection:

  • Family: Background, Structure and Interactions
  • Educational and Work Trajectories
  • Peers and Leisure
  • Identity, Personality and Wellbeing
  • Social and Productive Competencies
  • Morality and Values


Over several years COCON was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, first as part of the National Research Programme 52 “Childhood, Youth and Intergenerational Relationships in a Changing Society”, afterwards as a social science infrastructure project. COCON is also financially supported by the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development at the University of Zurich and is part of the research program of the Jacobs Center.

Cohorts and waves

COCON includes three age cohorts residing in the German- and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. Each of the selected age cohorts represents a prototypal stage in the course of growing up: middle childhood (6 year olds); middle adolescence (15 year olds) and late youth or early adulthood (21 year olds).

The child cohort includes children of 6 years of age old in 2006. The aim is to survey these children up to the age of 21. The youth cohort consists of 15-year-old adolescents in 2006. The great majority was about to finish obligatory schooling and shortly before transitioning to upper-secondary education, either vocational and educational training (VET) or general-education schools. The adult cohort includes around 600 21-yearold young adults, surveyed once in 2006.

Additional information regarding the study and datasets can be found in FORSbase.

More detailed information about the project is available on the COCON website.

Optimus Study
The Optimus Study is a cross-national initiative on child sexual victimization in the context of other forms of maltreatment, and aims to provide much-needed evidence on the risks and protective factors for children and youth. The study has so far been conducted in Switzerland, China, and South Africa.

In Switzerland, it was a school-based epidemiological survey carried out in 2009-10, with almost 7’000 youth between 15-17 years of age. The survey collected lifetime and previous-year prevalence of sexual victimization experiences for a nationally representative sample, as well as information on other types of maltreatment, risk factors, protective factors, and consequences of victimization. Click here for more information about the Swiss dataset.

The Chinese study included a household survey of 3’321 children age 15-17 and 8’945 parents of children age 0-17, as well as a school-based survey of 18’341 students age 15-17. Click here for more information about the Chinese datasets.

In South Africa, the study was conducted with a sample of more than 9’000 youth between 15-17 years of age. Click here for more information about the South African dataset.

Data access

Access to the Swiss, Chinese, and South African data is possible by way of our online system FORSbase. If you are not already registered with FORSbase, you will need to do so. After logging in and arriving at the Optimus Study catalogue page (Swiss dataChinese data, South African data), click on the tab “dataset”, select the dataset that you want to acquire, and then click on “download data”. After submitting your application, your request will need to be approved first by the Optimus Study data access committee (usually 1-2 business days). Once approved, you will be able to access the data immediately within FORSbase.

You can learn more about the Optimus Study at

PISA – Program for International Student Assessment
The international survey PISA is carried out every three years (since 2000) with 15 year olds in most of the member countries of the OECD and in numerous partner countries. It evaluates the acquisition of knowledge and essential know-how for daily life at the end of the period of obligatory education.

Switzerland chose the option of studying the population of students in the 9th year of education (national sample) as well as 15 year old students (international sample). The sample of 9th year students allows comparisons within the country between linguistic regions and, thanks to supplementary cantonal samples, between the cantons.

The three tested domains are reading, mathematics, and the sciences, with one of these the focus for each cycle. In 2000, main subject was reading, in 2003 it was mathematics, and in 2006 the sciences. The main subject was again reading in 2009 and mathematics in 2012. For PISA 2003, an additional theme was developed, that of problem solving ability.

Data access

The Swiss PISA data (9th grade) for 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012 as well as the corresponding documentation are available in FORSbase for interested researchers. To access the data, please click on the years.

The international PISA data (15 year olds) are available on the PISA pages of the OECD.

POW – People on War
For the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a worldwide survey called People on War. The survey was carried out between 1998 and 1999 in 17 countries, of which 12 had recently endured or are still enduring armed conflict. The survey was conducted simultaneously in France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, the USA, and in Switzerland. The aim was to give to civilians and combatants alike the chance to express their views on the many aspects of war, and to share their war experiences.

In 2009, a similar survey entitled “Our World. Views from the Field” was undertaken in 8 countries that were experiencing or had experienced armed conflict or other situations of armed violence. The aims were to develop a better understanding of people’s needs and expectations, to gather views and opinions, and to give a voice to those who had been adversely affected by armed conflict and violence.

The initial survey “People on War” was repeated in 2016 in 11 countries affected by armed conflict, as well as with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Switzerland. Many of the questions were asked as part of the first survey and so allow comparison after a 20-year interval.

Project description and data access in FORSbase

People on War UK survey 2007

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross repeated in the United Kingdom the 1999 People on War survey conducted in 17 countries. Key questions from the 1999 survey were asked to a representative sample of 1,000 people, to observe changes in British public opinion.

Project description and data access in FORSbase

The post-vote surveys
Since 1977, a survey is carried out after each federal vote, offering insight into the voting of Swiss citizens. Up until June 2016 these surveys were carried out under the name of VOX. Beginning with the vote of autumn 2016 the surveys were renamed as VOTO. Given the evolution and changes of post-vote surveys, the most significant variables have been standardized. This project of standardization, named VoxIt, makes it possible to compare between all of the surveys, including VOX. Through cumulative files containing every survey, VoxIt also makes it possible to run more global analyses.

VOX surveys

From 1977 to 2016, VOX surveys are conducted with representative samples of eligible voters and take place during the two or three weeks following a vote. The principal points covered during telephone interviews include: general political opinions and habits, political and associative affinities, degree of knowledge of the items put to vote, the various aspects relating to the decision on how to vote on these items, how the individual’s opinion is formed and, finally, the individual’s evaluation of the importance of what is at stake with each item.

The data of the VOX surveys are archived at FORS and are available via our portal FORSbase. Available VOX surveys start with the vote of 14 June 1981 and end with the vote of 5 June 2016. Because the VOX have not yet been systematically assessed, FORS disclaims any liability for errors that could be present in this material.

VOTO surveys

The VOTO project analyses, after each federal popular vote, the reasons why Swiss voters participated, and explains their decisions. In order to ensure continuity, the essential questions asked in the VOX survey were included in the VOTO surveys. Since the vote of September 25, 2016, the publications presenting the main results of the analyses are freely accessible on the project site. The data are available in FORSbase.

Standardized VoxIt surveys

The Voxlt data combine information from several sources into one file. First, the data integrate and harmonise the most significant variables in the post-vote surveys (VOX). A second type of variable includes specific characteristics such as the date of the vote, the results of each item, participation rates, slogans of the federal government and the principal political parties. Finally, the standardized surveys include a third type of variable, created specifically to synthesize certain data and/or to allow comparisons from across the whole range of the available surveys.

All datasets are available in both FORSbase (cumulative files) and Nesstar (files by scrutins and by projects).

TREE – Transitions from Education to Employment
TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment) surveys post-compulsory educational and labour market pathways of school leavers in Switzerland, being the country’s first prospective longitudinal study of this type at national level. The project’s first cohort (TREE1) is based on a sample of approximately 6000 young people who participated in the PISA survey of the year 2000 and left compulsory school the same year. This sample has been followed up by means of seven survey panels at a yearly rhythm between 2001 and 2007 and two further survey panels in 2010 and 2014. A further panel wave is planned for 2019 (at average respondent’s age 35). In 2016, the longitudinal observation of a second school leavers’ cohort (TREE2) has started. With this extension to a multi-cohort design, Switzerland is among the few countries worldwide in which comparative inter-cohort analyses can be carried out.

Further information is available on the project website and in the FORSbase catalogue.

Public survey data from the Federal Statistical Office
Since its creation, FORS has had several collaborations with the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). One of the first joint projects aimed at promoting the use of public administration surveys for research purposes.

These surveys cover various themes, such as economics, education, mobility, and health, and aim for understanding the evolution of society in its entirety.

With the goal of promoting the use of public statistical data, the FORS data service: