Quarterly National Household Survey/Labour Force Survey

 SN: 0034-00 (1998-2016)

  • QNHS Data for all quarters from 1998-2016 is now available.


The Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) began in September 1997, replacing the annual April Labour Force Survey (LFS). It is the official source for the production of quarterly labour force estimates (microdata) in Ireland, and meets the requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No. 577/98, adopted in March 1998. Information is collected continuously throughout the year, with 3,000 households surveyed each week to give a total sample of 39,000 households in each quarter. Households are asked to take part in the survey for five consecutive quarters. Further, more detailed information on the QNHS is available from the CSO.

It should be noted that the QNHS was conducted on a seasonal quarter basis when it was first introduced in Q4-1997.  However, as of Q1-2009, the survey was switched to a calendar quarter basis. 

ISSDA holds all quarters of microdata from 1998 to Q4 2016 in SAS and STATA format. A single combined file for all years is also available.

The QHNS also conducts special modules on different social topics each quarter. See below for the full set of QNHS module data held by ISSDA.




Data (available through ISSDA application process)

  • QNHS data will be supplied in SAS and STATA formats
  • Data may be subject to future revision.
  • Survey data may be subject to sampling error. Great care should be taken when interpreting small cell values.
  • As of 31 August 2011, all QNHS microdata is published on a calendar quarter basis , that is Q1: Jan-Mar, Q2: Apr-June, Q3: July-Sep, Q4: Oct-Dec.  This compares to the old seasonal based quarters of Q1: Dec-Feb, Q2: Mar-May, Q3: Jun-Aug, Q4:Sep-Nov.  Seasonal based microdata will no longer be distributed by ISSDA, and it is recommended that any researchers making use of the QNHS for long term longitudal purposes should contact ISSDA for a full set of calendar quarter data.
  • A new industrial classification, NACE Rev 2 was introduced in Q1 2009, and has been applied retrospectively to the microdata from Q2-2004 onwards. It should also be noted that NACE Rev 1.1 is retained in all quarters.
  • A break in continuity has occurred in the Educational Attainment series and, therefore, data from Q2 2009 is not directly comparable with previous quarters. The classification of educational levels has been revised in order to facilitate the linking of education categories to the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), while also retaining links with the international education classification, ISCED97. This affects the classification in a number of ways. One key difference is the distinction between ordinary and honours level degrees.
  • Occupation code for 2011 is not currently available. As a result of changes to the European regulations governing the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (implemented in Ireland using the QNHS) the CSO is obliged to report occupational coding data to Eurostat based on the new Europe wide classification ISCO-08 from Q1 2011 onwards. To allow this requirement to be met the CSO has changed to using UK SOC2010 as the primary classification used in collecting the data. ISCO-08 is then derived from UK SOC2010. The previously used classification for publication purposes in Ireland was UK SOC1990 and this cannot be directly compared to the new UK SOC2010 classification. However, the CSO is continuing to study this issue with the aim of providing the most consistent time series possible to users. Once this work has been completed additional occupation information for will be made available by the CSO and data will be re-issued. In the interim, any variables associated with occupation codes in the data for 2011 are coded to ‘No Occupation Code available’.

Documentation (available for download)

LFS: codebook (PDF)

QNHS Microdata (up to, and including, Q4 2016): Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS), 1998-2016, Codebook for Anonymised Microdata Files

QNHS Ad-hoc module codebooks. Please note that due to CSO restrictions, these files cannot be matched to their associated microdata files. All modules are the latest available modules:



Accessing the data

Data is only available for use by bona fide research projects. Any requests for consultancy or commercial uses of this data must be directed to the Central Statistics Office.  

To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, sign it, send it to ISSDA by email.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion.


If you have any queries relating to this dataset please read our FAQs.


For a list of Health related datasets click here.