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Equality Data Analysis

The collection and analysis of reliable equality data contribute to the fight against discrimination and for equality, by allowing inequalities to be measured, and targeted solutions to be developed. Equality data is also essential for monitoring whether anti-discrimination legislation, positive action measures and social policy efforts are fulfilling their intended objectives. For these reasons and others, the European Commission as well as Member States governments have on several occasions emphasised the need for equality data, as have international monitoring bodies such as the UN CERD Committee.     

The aim of the Equality data project (‘Analysis and comparative review of equality data collection practices in the EU’) is to provide an up-to-date overview of the ways in which equality data is being regulated, collected and used throughout the EU, focusing on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. The project also aims at raising awareness of the value of and need for a variety of types of equality data related to these grounds in all areas of society. One of the hurdles to further development of equality data is the common misconception that the collection of all data on for instance religion or ethnic origin is prohibited in the framework of data protection legislation. The Equality data project therefore also emphasises the variety of means by which equality data can be – and are being – collected in full compliance with the legal framework protecting personal data.

The Equality data project contains three components.

Firstly, a mapping of equality data legislation, practice and policy on the national level in the 28 Member States, based on questionnaires developed by the Migration Policy Group and filled-in by national experts in each country. The mapping focuses on:

  • the legal frameworks on equality data collection;
  • which data are being collected;
  • the frequency of data collection;
  • the definitions and categories used, and;
  • how the data is being used.

Secondly, the project provides an update of the Equality data handbook published by the European Commission in 2007. The author of the initial Handbook, Timo Makkonen, is one of the partners on the project and is the main author of the updated edition. The Handbook targets all stakeholders who are involved in the regulation, collection, use or evaluation of equality data, whether on the national or the European level. In addition to providing a typology of equality data and an overview of the legal framework regulating its collection and use, the Handbook highlights a number of key issues such as current trends across the Member States, good practice examples and issues of concern.

Finally, the project includes a comparative analysis which focuses on the development of equality data indicators covering the extent to which equality data is regulated, valid, reliable, comprehensive and used for the different grounds in all the Member States. The data used to populate the indicators has been collected through the national experts involved in the project and evaluated by Thomas Huddleston of the Migration Policy Group. 


  • Human European Consultancy
  • European Network Against Racism
  • Age Platform
  • European Disability Forum
  • ILGA Europe
  • Equinet

Senior experts:

  • Equality data collection – Timo Makkonen, Ministry of Justice (Finland)
  • Indicator development – Thomas Huddleston, MPG
  • Statistics – Stefanos Grammenos, ANED
  • Religion or belief – Katayoun Alidadi, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology 
  • Age – Elaine Dewhurst, University of Manchester
  • Racial or ethnic origin – Lilla Farkas, MPG
  • Disability – Lisa Waddington, Maastricht University
  • LGBTI – Mark Bell, Trinity College Dublin

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