ESDS has moved to the UK Data Service. Users registered with ESDS - what you need to know
| ESDS | Home | A-Z index | Site map | Contact | Login | Search: 

ESDS Longitudinal logo - link to ESDS Longitudinal home page
a series of ESDS Guides An ESDS guide
Guide to Families and Children Study
link to Longitudinal Study of Young People in England ESDS Longitudinal provides:
  • a web-based download service
  • specialist user support
  • training and workshops
  • a range of value-added data enhancements for a number of key UK longitudinal data collections, including the Families and Children Study (FACS)

The Families and Children Study (FACS), formerly known as the Survey of Low Income Families (SOLIF), originally provided a new baseline survey of Britain's lone-parent families and low-income couples with dependent children. The survey was named SOLIF for Waves 1 and 2, and FACS from Wave 3 onwards.

The FACS study has become a 'true panel', whereby respondents in 1999 have been re-interviewed in subsequent annual waves. Starting with Wave 3 (2001) the survey was extended to include higher-income families, thereby yielding a complete sample of all British families (and the subsequent name change). From Wave 4 (2002) onwards, longitudinal comparisons can be made.

young girl drawing
Main topics
image of a family The main objectives of the survey are to:
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the Government's work incentive measures in terms of helping people into work, improving living standards and improving child outcomes
  • compare the living standards and outcomes for children and for families across the income distribution
  • compare changes in the above across the waves since 1999
FACS also aims to provide commentary on longer-term objectives such as the Government's Public Service Agreement to eradicate child poverty within a generation.

Topics covered in the main interview include:

  • household characteristics
  • health and well-being
  • behaviour and childcare provision
  • use of local services
  • education and training
  • employment
  • family income
  • in-work support through the use of Working Families' Tax Credits (and its replacement system, the New Tax Credits)
  • receipt of benefits
  • money management and savings
  • material deprivation
image of house and money
Access to FACS

Users registered with the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) have access to the FACS data via the Download/Order link on the study description page:

Users can register with ESDS at

FACS resources

boy on steps

Further information, including links to reports and other publications, may be found on the Department for Work and Pensions FACS web pages:
See in particular Work in progress using FACS:

Users should also see the National Centre for Social Research web pages:

and the Survey Question Bank web pages:

User Documentation

The full FACS study description is available:

ESDS user documentation for the FACS can be downloaded from the Data Catalogue in the form of multi-volume user guides in PDF format from:

user documentation for FACS


FACS publications
The main published outcomes arising from this study, by the Principal Investigators and from secondary analysis, can be found at:
L4427 - Families and Children Study

UK Data Service logo

Here are some links to get started with the service:

ESDS Home Page > ESDS Longitudinal Home Page > Access > Guide to Families and Children Study