Discover a variety of Swiss datasets in education that can be obtained via SWISSUbase and reused for secondary analyses.

PISA - Programme for International Student Assessment

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluates 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills. Since 2000, Switzerland participated in every PISA cycle conducted by the OECD.

Download the Swiss PISA data (9th grade) for 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012.

Download the Swiss PISA 2015 and 2018 data (15 years old). These data complement the international data published on the OECD website.

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

More information on the study

TREE - Transitions from Education to Employment

TREE is a large panel survey following up compulsory school leavers from all over Switzerland through their post-compulsory education and training and into employment and adulthood. The first TREE cohort (TREE1) started in 2000 and has been interviewed ten times to date. The second TREE cohort (TREE2) left compulsory school in 2016.

Download the Tree datasets

More information on the study


PICE - Parental Investment in Children’s Education

PICE is a subsidiary of TREE that deals with the educational pathways of young adults and is particularly interested in how they are accompanied by their families on their way to professional life: PICE wants to analyse what educational aspirations young people in Switzerland have and whether or how they are supported by their parents.

To download quantitative data: see TREE

Download the qualitative data.

More information on the study

CH-x 2016/2017

In two-year cycles, the Federal Youth Surveys ch-x interview young men who start military service (about 30,000 annually, aged 19) as well as about 8,000 19-year-old Swiss women and, depending on the project, additional women and men of foreign nationality. The content ranges from school and life knowledge to questions about health, sport and quality of life.

Download the dataset ch-x 2016-2017

More information on the ch-x study

DAB - Determinanten der Ausbildungswahl und der Berufsbildungschancen

Since 2012, the DAB panel study has been collecting longitudinal data on the vocational and educational situation of young people in German-speaking Switzerland. The selected adolescents have been accompanied since their eighth school year and have so far been interviewed in nine surveys about their current educational situation as well as their educational and career aspirations. From a life course perspective, the DAB panel makes a theory-driven and empirical contribution to clarifying relevant issues in the field of vocational education, labor market and occupational research that could not be addressed so far with the longitudinal data available in Switzerland.

Download the dataset

More information on the DAB study

BR NWCH - Checks in Bildungsraum Nordwestschweiz

The Checks in Bildungsraum Nordwestschweiz are standardised school performance assessments conducted on the primary (third and fifth grade) and the lower secondary school level (eighth and ninth grade). They were gradually introduced in the cantons of Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt and Solothurn since 2013 and are administered annually. The collected data contain school performance data of students alongside some contextual variables as well as response data to the different tasks assigned.

Download the dataset

More information on Check dein Wissen

WiSel - Wirkungen der Selektion

Several longitudinal studies about school-to-work transition exist in Switzerland and other countries. However, there are no school-based longitudinal studies that analyze educational pathways from primary school to dual-track VET and tertiary education or work. The study «Effects of Tracking» (German: Wirkungen der Selektion, WiSel III) continues earlier research on transition from primary school to secondary school (WiSel I and WiSel II), so educational pathways from  primary school until five years after graduation from secondary school can be analyzed.

Download the WISel Welle 1-3 datasets

Download the WISel Welle 4-5 datasets

More information on the WISel study

ÜGK - Überprüfung der Grundkompetenzen

In 2011, the national educational goals were defined as basic competencies in four subject areas (school language, mathematics, natural sciences, foreign languages), which all pupils should have acquired by a certain point in their school careers. The acquisition of these basic competencies is considered a central prerequisite for further educational processes and, beyond that, for the students’ future participation in society.
Against this backdrop, the Überprüfung der Grundkompetenzen (ÜGK) was launched. The surveys examine how well students in Switzerland achieve a particular aspect of the educational goals.

Download the ÜGK 2016 – Mathematik HarmoS 11 dataset

Download the ÜGK 2017 – Sprachen HarmoS 8

More information on ÜGK

Get to know more in detail some of our datasets and latest additions.
Initiation and progression of auto-remission processes among alcohol and opiate addicts

The project facilitates access to secondary analyses within the context of a pioneering long-term study – the first of its kind in Switzerland – concerning processes of self-healing and self-directed emergence from trajectories of alcohol and heroin dependency. The biographical and addiction-centric evolution of a cohort of 30 alcohol and heroin self-healers (split evenly between men and women), recruited via media channels, was meticulously captured over four temporal junctures. This was achieved through elaborate efforts to repeatedly engage these hard to reach target groups for follow-up surveys. The years encompassed were 1988/89, 1992, 1996, and 2002, under the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Federal Office of Public Health, and covers qualitative and, to some extent, quantitative records.

The immensely intricate reservoir of data encompasses standardised and open inquiries directed towards collateral individuals, alongside a control cluster (untreated, issue unresolved). The current dataset (Version 1.0.0), in its preliminary form, pertains to the available qualitative data, including textual and visual (free life story drawings) information from the self-healers of the baseline survey.

The dataset is accompanied by an extensive compendium, chronicling the recruitment, data collection, and detailed concluding reports. This documentation is publicly accessible and serves as a resource for researchers contemplating engagement with delicate and hard-to-reach demographics. Moreover, it holds historical significance. The data themselves are accessible under a Restricted Contract; hence, prospective researchers and scholars are urged to log into SWISSUbase and provide a rationale for their research pursuits prior to being granted data access.

Description of the study and data on SWISSUbase.

TREE – Transitions from Education to Employment
TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment) is a multi-disciplinary longitudinal large-scale survey providing high-quality longitudinal data on educational and occupational pathways in Switzerland for the use within the scientific community at large. The source of the data is a multi-cohort panel study of school leavers who are first surveyed at the end of compulsory school at the age of approximately 15 to 16 years.

The first TREE cohort (TREE1) has been launched in 2000 and draws on a large national (compulsory) school leavers’ sample (N>6,000) tested and surveyed on the occasion of Switzerland’s then first-time participation in PISA. Since then, the sample has been followed up by means of 10 panel waves, the most recent one conducted in 2019/20. Further panel waves are planned at five-years intervals. Today, TREE1 respondents have reached an average age of approximately 35 and been surveyed for a period of over 20 years, spanning from early adolescence up to early middle-age. The study thus has gradually grown into a full-blown life course survey.

Over the years and across a wide range of academic disciplines (e.g. sociology, economics, psychology, educational and health sciences), TREE1 has become an invaluable database for research on pathways and transitions of adolescents and (young) adults. Today, TREE1 is to be found among Switzerland’s most widely used data infrastructures in the social sciences.

The second TREE panel study (TREE2) covers a comparable population of school leavers who left compulsory education in 2016. As its baseline survey, it draws on a national large-scale assessment of mathematics skills. Since then, the TREE2 sample has been re-surveyed at yearly intervals. Further panel waves will be conducted with the objective to replicate, as closely as possible, TREE1’s panel design.

Data for both cohorts are available in SWISSUbase. For further information see TREE’s study website and the SWISSUbase catalogue.

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 between 2013 and 2018 and comprises 30 elections in 21 countries. Wave III is planned to be in the field from 2019 to 2024 and to date contains 5 elections across 5 countries.

Data access

Data from the CCS are available on our online system SWISSUbase. The CCS wave I cumulative dataset (2005 -2012) 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 30 elections from 21 countries: Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Greece, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, Romania, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Chile, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ireland, Spain, and United Kingdom. To date, the CCS wave III cumulative dataset (2019 – 2024) includes a total of 5 elections from 5 countries: Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland.

If you are not already registered with SWISSUbase, 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 “Start download”. 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 SWISSUbase.

Study and dataset description in our SWISSUbase catalogue.

Further information on the CCS website, or contact Anke Tresch at FORS.

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 SWISSUbase.


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.

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 SWISSUbase.

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 SWISSUbase. If you are not already registered with SWISSUbase, 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 SWISSUbase.

You can learn more about the Optimus Study here.

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. The three areas tested in each cycle are reading, mathematics, and science, with a priority area in each cycle.

Until 2012, Switzerland chose the option of studying the population of students in the 9th year of education  as well as 15 year old students. The sample of 9th year students allows comparisons within the country between linguistic regions and, thanks to supplementary cantonal samples, between the cantons. Since 2015, only the 15-year-old sample has been tested.

Data access

The Swiss PISA datasets (9th grade) for 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012  are available on SWISSUbase for interested researchers. To access the data, please click on the years.

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

The Swiss PISA datasets (15 years) for 2015 and 2018 are available on SWISSUbase. These datasets complete the international data published on the OECD website, with some information relevant for the Swiss context as well as some national options. For 2018, a dataset limited to the sampled schools in the canton of Ticino is also available on SWISSUbase.

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 SWISSUbase

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 SWISSUbase

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 SWISSUbase. 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 SWISSUbase.

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 SWISSUbase (cumulative files) and DeVisu (files by scrutins and by projects).

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: