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Definition: European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics


The European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) was developed in the late '70s by Eurostat jointly with representative of the Member States of the European Union in response to the need for a specific instrument of statistical observation of social protection in the EC Member States.

The first ESSPROS methodology was published in 1981. In 1993, Eurostat undertook a general revision of the ESSPROS, in close co-operation with the Member States. The ESSPROS Manual 1996 was the outcome of this revision process.

In April 2005, Eurostat proposed to introduce a legal basis for the ESSPROS project.

Simultaneously, an update of the ESSPROS Manual 1996 was undertaken because it was necessary to adjust its structure in order to incorporate methodological clarifications.

The ESSPROS Manual published in 2008 did not contain significant changes in respect to 1996 version, but mainly adjustments in the definitions and classifications.

ESSPROS provides a coherent comparison between European countries of social benefits to households and their financing. Social benefits are transfers to households, in cash or in kind intended to relieve them from the financial burden of a number of risks or needs. 

The risks or needs of social protection refer to the ESSPROSS functions that are comprehensive, but do not include education unless it is a support to indigent families with children. The functions are disability, sickness/health care, old age, survivors, family/children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion.

The ESSPROS Manual 2011 is equivalent to the previous version but complemented by the methodology on the module on net social protection benefits (restricted approach) finalised during the work on the pilot data collection.
Eurostat, "ESSPROS Manual - The European System of integrated Social Protection Statistics", 2011 Edition, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2011