BHPS Survey development opens up exciting new research possibilities
Article dated: 7 April 2010
Researchers using the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) can now gain a better understanding than ever before of how people's lives are affected by where they live. Over the past year the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), which has run the BHPS since 1994, has released a range of geographical identifiers about the location of BHPS households for all the currently available waves of BHPS data.
These range from Local Authority Districts to Lower Level Super Output Areas, down to Postcode Grid References which indicate the position of a household’s postcode to the nearest metre. Area classifications for Output Areas and Rural-Urban Indicators are also available. The identifiers allow users to merge the BHPS area characteristics (for example, measures of deprivation, air pollution and the location of telephone masts) and will be of considerable interest to researchers investigating issues such as the effect of neighbourhood environment on people’s changing lives.
Some of the geographical identifiers may be downloaded from the ESDS web site after agreeing to five confidentiality conditions. However, a Special Licence Agreement is required for the more detailed geographical identifiers such as wards. Postcode Grid References will be accessible via the Secure Data Service, which offers secure remote access for approved researchers.
Birgitta Rabe, Research Fellow at ISER, who has created the geo-indicators as part of her own ongoing research into the effects of neighbourhood quality on residential mobility, said: "This really is a very exciting development for researchers who are interested in getting a better understanding of how our lives are affected by where we live. I expect that the data release will stimulate lots of interesting new research using the BHPS."