World Bank Microdata Library


The World Bank Microdata Library organizes data collected through sample surveys of households, firms or other entities. These surveys can also originate from censuses, at the individual or household level. This data source consists of data from collections, which originate from both the World Bank and other external international organizations.*

*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the World Bank Microdata Library website.

Available data file formats

Stata, SPSS, CSV, ASCII, SAS and Excel. (This depends on the collection, source and survey but they aggregately have these options.)


Open to the public (with some exceptions for certain datasets, depending on the organization that owns the data). The accessibility of the available datasets from this source is defined as follows:

  • Open data access (open to the public)
  • Direct data access (open to the public)
  • Public use data files (open to the public but need to be logged in an/or have a login)
  • Licensed data files (need to log in and apply for approval of access)
  • Data available from external repository (open to the public but may need a login, depending on the external source)

World Bank Microdata Library

How to retrieve data by example


Suppose you are trying to evaluate trends in remittances. You have no preference for the country but would like some more recent data on the subject, and would like to have this data in a CSV file, which can be read into Excel.


  • Go to the World Bank Microdata Library and there is a Search Bar in the center of the page. Click on the Browse Catalog button under the search bar.

Screenshot of the World Bank Microdata Library main page. There is a search bar in the center and below it there is a Browse Catalog button.

  • The page that appears should look similar to the one below. Go to the far left and search remittances where it says study description, since that is the topic of the study you wish to look at. (Looking more specifically at certain variables in a dataset, you could type your search into the variable description field. Note that you can also just search remittances in the search bar on the original page.)

Screenshot of the Central Data Catalog page. On the left, there are two Search by Keyword options which allow you to search by study description or by variable description, respectively. Below them, there is also a Filter by Year option. The seventh searching result on the right shows the Comprehensive Baseline Study on Digital Remittances 2016.

  • The seventh result, Comprehensive Baseline Study on Digital Remittances 2016, Demand-side Survey of Low-income Jordanians and Syrian Refugees in Jordan, appears to be most focused on remittances so you decide to choose that study – 2016 remittances in Jordan. Once you click on it, it will take you to the study’s information page. Below the general information, click on the tab that says Get Microdata.* Agree to the terms and conditions. The list of available data files should now appear.

Screenshot of the Comprehensive Baseline Study on Digital Remittances 2016 page. The download section, Get Microdata, allows you to download Data Files in different forms. The second one from top, Data in CSV, is what you are looking for.*Note the icon next to Get Microdata – following the data access legend on the previous page, this indicates there is direct data access, not requiring permission or login information.

  • Select the desired file format, in this case a CSV file, and download the data. Once downloaded, open the file to ensure it is the desired information. In this case, it is a .zip file that contains a CSV file, so you are good to go.

You should now have access to the raw data on remittances in Jordan for the year 2016. Links to access and download the accompanying codebooks and/or metadata should also be available on the study’s information page.

Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. For this scenario, the citation in APA format would look something like:

IPSOS Public Affairs, IPSOS Jordan (2017) Jordan - Comprehensive Baseline Study on Digital Remittances 2016, Demand-side Survey of Low-income Jordanians and Syrian Refugees in Jordan World Bank Central Microdata Catalog (Accessed on November 18, 2019)