Guide to Understanding Society
ESDS Longitudinal provides:
- a web-based download service
- specialist user support in conjunction with the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)
- training and workshops
- a range of value-added data enhancements for a number of key UK longitudinal data collections, including Understanding Society
Understanding Society, or the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), is conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), at the University of Essex.
As a multi-topic household survey, the purpose of Understanding Society is to understand social and economic change in Britain at the household and individual levels.
It is anticipated that
over time the study will permit examination of short- and long-term effects of social and economic change, including policy interventions, on the general wellbeing of the UK population. The
study has a strong emphasis on domains of family and social ties, work, financial resources, and health.
Understanding Society data available via ESDS
The study has four sample components: the General Population component; the Innovation Panel; a boost sample of ethnic minority group members; and participants in the former British Household
Panel Survey (BHPS) held at the UK Data Archive under SN 5151.
Wave 1 data (SN 6614) includes the General Population component and the ethnic minority boost sample. The Innovation Panel data are held separately under SN 6849.
The BHPS sample is part of Understanding Society from Wave 2 onwards. BHPS sample members have an identifier
within the Understanding Society datasets, allowing BHPS users to match BHPS Wave 1-18 data to Understanding Society Wave 2 and onwards data.
In addition, there are a number of lower geographical datasets
available under Special Licence conditions providing Local Authority District (LAD), Output Area Codes (OACs), Local Education
Authorities (LEAs), Output Areas (OAs), and other geographical level information.
Users registered with the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) have access to the latest Understanding Society datasets via
the download/order service.
- How to register with ESDS:
- All Understanding Society datasets:
- Main dataset:
- Innovation Panel:
- Lower geographical level data, Special Licence Access:
Understanding Society data available via the Secure Data Service
From Spring 2011, very detailed geographical Understanding Society data have been made available via the Secure Data Service. These data are subject to strict conditions of access:
- Understanding Society National Grid Reference data at the Secure Data Service:
- Secure Data Service FAQs:
Understanding Society resources
There are a host of Understanding Society resources on the web.
ESDS Longitudinal resources:
UK longitudinal data in an international context:
ESDS Longitudinal data mailing list:
ESDS user documentation for the main Understanding Society data can be downloaded from the catalogue record page at:
Alternatively, documentation is available from the study's website at:
A questionnaire search can be performed using the Survey Question Bank (SQB):
L33423 Guide to Understanding Society