How to send files to the microdata service in Statistics Norway


1. Do not send the files until Statistics Norway asks for them.

2. Files are transferred via Statistics Norway’s secure connection.

  • Always send the data via Statistics Norway’s encrypted file transfer (guidelines here).
  • Never send data by e-mail or by post on CDs, memory sticks etc.

3. Note the following technical details:

3.1 File format

  • Preferred: SAS, STATA or SPSS files
  • Optional: Flat files in ASCII format, either semicolon divided values (sdv) or comma separated values (csv).
  • In the case of fixed position files, remember to also send the input program.

3.2 Naming files and variables

  • Permitted characters: A-z, 0-9 and _ (underscore). The name must not start with a number.
  • Not permitted: æøå, space or special characters
  • All variables in the same file must have a unique name, with a maximum of 32 characters each.
  • If you are sending more than one file, it is beneficial if the same variable has the same name wherever it appears.

3.3 Personal identification number

  • Always 11 positions (include any zero at the beginning)
  • Always a string format (character), never numeric

4. Documentation

Only send the persons/establishments and variables that the client and Statistics Norway have agreed on.

Always include the following:

  • Description of the population (unit, sample criteria)
  • Number of records in the file(s) (persons, establishments, observations) and whether there are duplicates
  • Complete variable list (name, label, position, length)
  • Relevant definitions and code lists

Notify Statistics Norway of any variables that may contain identifiable information, such as

  • Personal identification number (own or others, e.g. parents, spouse, siblings)
  • Organisation number
  • Name in plain text
  • Date of birth (own or others)
  • Address (in plain text or in code)
  • Municipality, district or basic statistical unit number/name