Random sampling

The Citizens' assembly shall consist of 160 people who statistically represent the population as well as possible. Therefore, the participants for the Citizens' assembly will be drawn at random. In principle, every resident of Germany over the age of 16 should have a chance to be drawn. 

In a first step, random samples will be drawn from the population registers of several municipalities selected by lot. The people thus identified will be invited and, if they are interested in participating, they can register for the second stage of the random selection. In order to also reach groups that statistically respond less often to an invitation, around 20,000 people are written to. In this way, the greatest possible diversity can be achieved in the Citizens' assembly.

When registering for the second stage of the lottery, information is requested, for example on age, education, attitude towards the Citizens' assembly topic and so on. With the help of this information, several possible Citizens' assemblies are put together by an algorithm. Each of these potential Citizens' assemblies represents the population in Germany based on the information requested. For example, they each consist of about half men and half women. In a public Citizens' assembly lottery, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas draws one of the many possible Citizens' assemblies. This will determine the 160 participants.

The random selection is being carried out by the nexus Institute and the Sortition Foundation on behalf of the Bundestag.

Basic assumptions for the selection of participants:

  • Every resident of Germany over the age of 16 should have an equal chance of being invited to participate in the Citizens' Lottery. 
  • The participants of the Citizens' assembly should statistically represent the population of Germany as well as possible on the basis of certain socio-demographic criteria. 
  • The lottery procedure is based on random sampling from the population registers kept by the municipalities. 
  • The sample size must be chosen in such a way that even those groups where experience has shown to be less responsive to the invitation - this concerns, among others, people without an academic background - are represented as far as possible in accordance with their share of the population. 
  • A total of 160 people are to take part in the Citizens' assembly. For this purpose, 20,000 invitations will be sent out.

The random selection process in brief

  • Step 1: Random selection of municipalities in Germany from the official municipal directory. In these municipalities, the invitations are to be sent by post.
  • Step 2: Application to the relevant registration offices to draw a random sample from their register of residents. 
  • Step 3: Invitations are sent by post to the 20,000 private addresses provided by the registration offices.
  • Step 4: Registration of interested citizensto take part in the citizens' lottery (Step 5).
  • Step 5: Citizens' lottery: From the responses, an algorithm is used to compile a large number of Citizens' assemblies, each of which fulfils the socio-demographic criteria set out in the establishment resolution as far as possible. The actual composition of the Citizens' assembly is determined by a public draw. The persons finally drawn will be notified. All those who have registered but were not drawn in the draw will also receive feedback.

A more detailed description of the random selection for the Citizens' assembly „Nutrition in Transition“  can be found here in German.