CBS’ Person Network (PN) file: improvements, extensions and applications

By Marjolijn Das, Jan van der Laan, Edwin de Jonge, Marieke de Vries, Vincent de Heij (CBS)


CBS (Statistics Netherlands) developed the Person Network (PN), a file that describes networks of the entire population of the Netherlands in 2018. The potential networks of individuals are derived from administrative data (microdata) and contain five so-called network layers: family members, household members, neighbours, colleagues, and classmates. The first pilot for this work, focusing on the information over 2014, was developed earlier through the ODISSEI Secure Supercomputer (OSSC). In collaboration with ODISSEI, the Person Network file 2018 was made available through CBS’ Remote Access environment.

Last year, the Person Network file was developed further by CBS. The (measurements of the) relationships in the network have been improved and expanded. The file now covers a time series from 2009 to 2020 (based on the population status on 1 January), and it will be updated yearly when new data is made available. This version of the file is also available in the CBS’ Remote Access environment.

Based on this extended time series, CBS researched segregation by education level, resulting in a dashboard that provides insight into the extent to which people with different levels of education live segregated in a municipality.

In a short article, the creators of the file and the dashboard discuss the main improvements and extensions in the Person Network file and describe some of the results of the application of the file in the segregation research.

Conducting research with CBS microdata
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) collects a wide range of data for its statistical tasks, many of them microdata at the level of individual persons or organisations. Protection of the confidentiality of the data has the highest priority for CBS. Within strict safety conditions however, universities and other authorized research institutes can get Remote Access to such data to perform statistical analyses for their own scientific or statistical purposes. The microdata themselves remain strictly within a secure environment within CBS. Under applicable conditions researcher can also bring in additional dataset to be linked with CBS microdata. Before aggregate statistical results are exported from the secured environment, CBS will check whether these results do not contain any risk for disclosure of information on individual persons or organisations.

Read more about using microdata within the CBS Remote Access Environment.

Relevant links

Microdata Access

CBS Facilities

The ODISSEI Secure Supercomputer

Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash