UK Data Service data catalogue record for:
|Title:||Understanding Society: Waves 1-4, 2009-2013|
|Alternative title:||United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study; UKHLS|
|Series:||Understanding Society [Understanding Society: Waves 1- , 2008-]|
|Depositor:||University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research|
University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research
NatCen Social Research
NatCen Social Research
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Central Survey Unit
Economic and Social Research Council
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Education
Department for Transport
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department of Health
Welsh Assembly Government
Northern Ireland Executive
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Standards Agency
|Grant number:||ESRC: RES-586-47-0001-01; NCRM: DU/512589103|
The citation for this study is:
Select the text above to add data citation in your outputs.
Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.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. The survey research organisation in Great Britain is NatCen Social Research and in Northern Ireland, the Central Survey Unit of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
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 well-being of the UK population with a strong emphasis on domains of family and social ties, work, financial resources, and health. The study is an annual survey of each adult member of a nationally representative sample. The same individuals are re-interviewed in each wave. If individuals leave their household, all adult members of their new household are interviewed. Each wave is collected over 24 months, such that the first wave of data was collected between January 2009 and January 2011, the second wave between January 2010 and January 2012, and so forth. Data collection takes place using computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI). One person completes the household questionnaire. Each person aged 16 or older answers the individual adult interview and self-completion questionnaire. Young people aged 10-15 years are asked to respond to a paper self-completion questionnaire.
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). Waves 1-2 (SN 6614) include the General Population component and the ethnic minority boost sample. The Innovation Panel data are held separately under SN 6849. Former participants of the BHPS joined Understanding Society from Wave 2. BHPS sample members have an identifier within the Understanding Society datasets from Wave 2 onwards, allowing the matching of BHPS data to Understanding Society.
Further information about the survey may be found on the Understanding Society web site.
End User Licence and Special Licence Understanding Society data:
Users should note that there are two versions of the main Understanding Society data. One is available under the standard End User Licence (EUL) agreement, and the other is a Special Licence (SL) version. The SL version contains month and year of birth variables instead of just age, more detailed country and occupation coding for a number of variables and various income variables have not been top-coded (see the documentation available with the SL version for more detail on the differences). Users are advised to first obtain the standard EUL version of the data to see if they are sufficient for their research requirements. The SL data have more restrictive access conditions; prospective users of the SL version will need to complete an extra application form and demonstrate to the data owners exactly why they need access to the additional variables in order to get permission to use that version.
Special Licence files currently available:
- The SL versions of the main Understanding Society and Innovation Panel studies may be found under SNs 6931 and 7083 respectively.
- Low-level and Medium-level Geographical Identifiers data are also available subject to SL access conditions; see SNs 6666, 6668-6675 and 7182 (main study) and 6908-6916 (Innovation Panel).
These data are provided by the depositor in Stata format. Users are strongly advised to analyse them in Stata. Transfer to other formats may result in unforeseen issues. Stata SE software is needed to analyse the larger files, which contain over 2,047 variables.
The survey instrument is constructed with modules. For a fuller listing of modules and questionnaire content see the User Manual or the online documentation system.
The household questionnaire includes a household composition listing of all household members with information about gender, date of birth, marital and employment status, and relationship to the household respondent. The household questionnaire also includes questions about housing, mortgage or rent payments, material deprivation, and consumer durables and cars.
The individual interview is asked of every person in the household aged 16 or over. It includes questions about demographics, baseline information, family background, ethnicity and language use; migration, partnership and fertility histories; health, disability and caring; current employment and earnings; employment status (for persons interviewed January-June); parenting and childcare arrangements; family networks; benefit payments; political party identification; household finances; environmental behaviours; consents to administrative data linkage.
The adult self-completed questionnaire is a pencil-and-paper instrument. The self-completion component asks about subjective questions, particularly those which are potentially sensitive or require more privacy. It includes feelings of depression (General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12)) and well-being, sleep behaviour, environmental attitudes and beliefs, neighbourhood participation and belonging, life satisfaction, activities with partner and relationship quality.
A proxy module, a much shortened version of the individual questionnaire, collects demographic, health, and employment information, as well as a summary income measure.
The youth self-completion questionnaire is a pencil-and-paper instrument for children aged 10-15. The content includes computer and technology use, family support, sibling relationships, feelings about areas of life, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), health behaviours, smoking and drinking, and aspirations.
Standard measures used:
Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 12 (SF-12)
General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12)
Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)
|Dates of fieldwork:||Wave 1: January 2009 - March 2011. Wave 2: January 2010 - December 2011, with some interviews taking place in January 2012. Wave 3: January 2011-July 2013 (including 2013 reissue period). Wave 4: January 2012-May 2014.|
Government Office Regions
|Kind of data:||
Individual (micro) level
Households and their individual members resident in the United Kingdom.
Multi-stage stratified random sample
Two-stage stratified systematic sample - see documentation for details.
|Number of units:||
Wave 1: 30,169 households, 50,994 adults and 4,899 young people aged 10-15 years. Wave 2: 30,508 households, 54,597 adults and 5,020 young people aged 10-15. Wave 3: 36,411 households, 51,594 adults and 5,911 young people aged 10-15. Wave 4: 31,447 households, 51,579 adults and 4,049 young people aged 10-15.
See documentation for a breakdown of response by group.
|Method of data collection:||
Face-to-face interview; Self-completion
|Weighting:||Weighting used. See documentation for details.|
|ADOLESCENTS||ADOPTED CHILDREN||ADOPTIVE PARENTS|
|ALCOHOLIC DRINKS||APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT||ASPIRATION|
|BIRTH WEIGHT||BREAST-FEEDING||BRITISH POLITICAL PARTIES|
|CABLE TELEVISION||CARE OF DEPENDANTS||CARE OF THE DISABLED|
|CARE OF THE ELDERLY||CAREGIVERS||CENTRAL HEATING|
|CHILD BENEFITS||CHILD CARE||CHILD DAY CARE|
|CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS||CHILDBIRTH||CHILDREN|
|CLINICAL TESTS AND MEASUREMENTS||CLOTHING||COHABITATION|
|COHABITING||COLOUR TELEVISION RECEIVERS||COMMUNITY BEHAVIOUR|
|COMMUTING||COMPACT DISC PLAYERS||COMPUTERS|
|COUNCIL TAX||CRIME VICTIMS||CRIME|
|CRIMINAL DAMAGE||CULTURAL GOODS||DEATH|
|DEPRESSION||DIET AND NUTRITION||DISABILITIES|
|DIVORCE||DOMESTIC APPLIANCES||DOMESTIC RESPONSIBILITIES|
|ECONOMIC ACTIVITY||EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND||EDUCATIONAL EXPECTATIONS|
|ELECTRIC POWER SUPPLY||ELECTRONIC GAMES||EMOTIONAL STATES|
|EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES||EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMMES||EMPLOYMENT|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION||ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION||ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION|
|ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES||ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENTS||ETHNIC GROUPS|
|FAMILIES||FAMILY DISORGANIZATION||FAMILY ENVIRONMENT|
|FAMILY LIFE||FAMILY MEMBERS||FAMILY SIZE|
|FATHER'S ECONOMIC ACTIVITY||FATHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH||FATHERS|
|FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES||FINANCIAL EXPECTATIONS||FINANCIAL RESOURCES|
|FUELS||FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT||FURNISHED ACCOMMODATION|
|FURNITURE||FURTHER EDUCATION||GAS SUPPLY|
|HEALTH||HEATING SYSTEMS||HEIGHT (PHYSIOLOGY)|
|HIGHER EDUCATION||HOLIDAYS||HOME BUYING|
|HOME CONTENTS INSURANCE||HOME OWNERSHIP||HOURS OF WORK|
|HOUSE PRICES||HOUSEHOLD BUDGETS||HOUSEHOLD INCOME|
|HOUSING BENEFITS||HOUSING CONDITIONS||HOUSING FACILITIES|
|HOUSING FINANCE||HOUSING NEEDS||HOUSING TENURE|
|INSURANCE||INTEREST (FINANCE)||INTERNET ACCESS|
|INTERNET USE||INVESTMENT||JOB CHANGING|
|JOB HUNTING||JOB SATISFACTION||JUVENILE DELINQUENCY|
|LANDLORDS||LANGUAGES||LEAVING HOME (YOUTH)|
|LEISURE TIME ACTIVITIES||LIFE SATISFACTION||LIVING ABROAD|
|MARITAL STATUS||MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION||MARRIAGE|
|MEALS||MOBILE PHONES||MORTGAGE ARREARS|
|MORTGAGES||MOTHER'S ECONOMIC ACTIVITY||MOTHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH|
|MOTHERS||MOTOR PROCESSES||MOTOR VEHICLES|
|NEIGHBOURS||OCCUPATIONAL PENSIONS||OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS|
|OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING||OCCUPATIONS||ONE-PARENT FAMILIES|
|PARENTAL ROLE||PARENTAL SUPERVISION||PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP|
|PAYMENTS||PERSONAL DEBT REPAYMENT||PHYSICAL MOBILITY|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||PLACE OF RESIDENCE||POLITICAL ALLEGIANCE|
|POLITICAL ATTITUDES||POLITICAL INTEREST||PRIVATE PERSONAL PENSIONS|
|PRIVATE SCHOOLS||PRIVATE SECTOR||PROFITS|
|PUBLIC SECTOR||QUALIFICATIONS||QUALITY OF LIFE|
|RECREATIONAL FACILITIES||RECYCLING||RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION|
|RELIGIOUS ATTENDANCE||RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES||RENEWABLE ENERGY|
|RENTED ACCOMMODATION||RENTS||RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY|
|SAFETY AND SECURITY||SATELLITE RECEIVERS||SATISFACTION|
|SAVINGS||SCHOOL PUNISHMENTS||SCHOOL-LEAVING AGE|
|SOCIAL CAPITAL||SOCIAL CLASS||SOCIAL HOUSING|
|SOCIAL INEQUALITY||SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS||SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS|
|SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS||SOLAR POWER||SOLID FUEL HEATING|
|SPOUSES||STANDARD OF LIVING||STATE EDUCATION|
|STATE RETIREMENT PENSIONS||STEPCHILDREN||STUDENT TRANSPORTATION|
|TELEVISION VIEWING||TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT||THEFT|
|TRAVELLING TIME||TRUANCY||UNEARNED INCOME|
|UNITED KINGDOM||URBAN AREAS||VEGETABLES|
|VOTING BEHAVIOUR||VOTING INTENTION||WAGES|
|WEIGHT (PHYSIOLOGY)||WELSH (LANGUAGE)||WIDOWED|
|WIND POWER||WORKING WOMEN||WORKPLACE|
|Date of release:|
|First edition:||13 December 2010|
|Latest edition:||18 November 2014 (6th Edition)|
|Copyright:||Copyright Economic and Social Research Council|
|Access conditions:||The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions for further information.|
|Availability:||UK Data Service|
|Contact:||Get in touch|
|Title||File Name||Size (KB)|
|Cognitive Ability Measures||6614_cognitive_ability_measures_v1-1.pdf||348|
|Wave 4 Northern Ireland Fieldwork Documents||6614_northern_ireland_wave_4_fieldwork_documents.pdf||1098|
|Wave 1 Main Questionnaire||6614_understanding_society_wave1_questionnaire.v04.pdf||2802|
|Wave 2 Main Questionnaire||6614_understanding_society_wave2_questionnaire_v04.pdf||3726|
|Wave 4 Main Questionnaire||6614_understanding_society_wave_4_questionnaire_v01-2.pdf||6128|
|Waves 1-4 User Manual||6614_usermanual_wave1to4_v1-1.pdf||686|
|"Wave 1-3 Revisions, November 2014"||6614_w1-3-revisions2014.pdf||208|
|Wave 3 Youth Self-Completion Questionnaire (GB)||6614_w3_youthquestionnaire_gbritain_annotated.pdf||1469|
|Wave 4 Advance Letters and Leaflets||6614_w4_advance_letters_leaflets.pdf||988|
|Wave 4 Address Record Form||6614_w4_arf.pdf||414|
|Wave 4 Consent Forms||6614_w4_consents.pdf||2505|
|Wave 4 Project Instructions for Interviewers||6614_w4_proj_inst_capi_v1-f.pdf||2216|
|Wave 4 Respondent Correspondence||6614_w4_respondent_correspondence.pdf||1370|
|Wave 4 Showcards||6614_w4_showcards_v5-f.pdf||383|
|Wave 4 Technical Report||6614_w4_technical_report.pdf||1558|
|Wave 4 Youth Self-Completion Questionnaire||6614_w4_youthselfcompletion_questionnaire.pdf||1029|
|Wave 1 Consent Package||6614_wave1_consent_package.pdf||645|
|Wave 1 Adult Self-Completion Questionnaire||6614_wave1_main_adult_sc_questionnaire.pdf||429|
|Wave 1 Youth Self-Completion Questionnaire||6614_wave1_main_youth_sc_questionnaire.pdf||750|
|Wave 1 Project Instructions for Interviewers||6614_wave1_project_instructions_interviewers.pdf||2426|
|Wave 1 Showcards||6614_wave1_showcards.pdf||199|
|Wave 1 Technical Report||6614_wave1_technical_report.pdf||477|
|Wave 2 Adult Self-Completion Questionnaire||6614_wave2_adult_selfcompletion_questionnaire.pdf||475|
|Wave 2 Address Record Form||6614_wave2_arf.pdf||510|
|Wave 2 Project Instructions for Interviewers||6614_wave2_project_instructions_interviewers.pdf||1967|
|Wave 2 Respondent Communications||6614_wave2_respondent_communications.pdf||526|
|Wave 2 Showcards||6614_wave2_showcards.pdf||408|
|Wave 2 Technical Report||6614_wave2_technical_report.pdf||365|
|Wave 2 Youth Self-Completion Questionnaire||6614_wave2_youth_selfcompletion_questionnaire.pdf||840|
|Wave 3 Advance Letters and Leaflets||6614_wave3_advancelet_leaflets.pdf||2094|
|Wave 3 Address Record Form||6614_wave3_arf.pdf||1130|
|Wave 3 Cognitive Ability Booklet||6614_wave3_cognitive_ability_booklet.pdf||304|
|Wave 3 Project Instructions for Interviewers||6614_wave3_project_instructions_interviewer.pdf||2497|
|Wave 3 Respondent Correspondence||6614_wave3_respondent_correspondence.pdf||1685|
|Wave 3 Showcards||6614_wave3_showcards.pdf||440|
|Wave 3 Technical Report||6614_wave3_technical_report_final_141013.pdf||2001|
|Wave 3 Youth Self-Completion Questionnaire (NI)||6614_wave3_youthquestioniew_ni_annotated.pdf||1345|
|Wave 3 Main Questionnaire||6614_wave_3_questionnaire.pdf||5362|
|Study information and citation||UKDA_Study_6614_Information.htm||33|
By principal investigator(s):
Understanding Society has its own Methodological Working Paper Series and Findings Series, both of which are freely available.
Burton, J., Nandi, A. and Platt, L. (2008) Who are the UK's ethnic minority groups? Issues of identification and measurement in a longitudinal survey, ISER Working Paper 2008-2. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2008-02
Gray, M., Uhrig, S. C. N., Constantine, R., d'Ardenne, J. and Blake, M. (2008) Cognitive testing of Understanding Society. The UK Household Longitudinal Study questionnaire, ISER Working Paper 2008-4. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2008-04
Lynn, P. (2009), Sample design for Understanding Society, ISER Working Paper 2009-1. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2009-01
Berthoud, R., Fumagalli, L., Lynn, P., Platt, L. (2009) Design of the ethnic minority boost sample, ISER Working Paper 2009-2. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2009-02
Nandi, A. and Platt, L. (2009) Developing ethnic identity questions for Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, ISER Working Paper 2009-3. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2009-03
Rabe, B. (2011) Geographical identifiers in Understanding Society, version 1, ISER Working Paper 2011-1. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2011-01
Nandi, A., Platt, L. (2011) Effect of interview modes on measurement of identity, ISER Working Paper 2011-2. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2011-02
Booker, C. and Sacker, A. (2011) ‘Limiting long-term illness and subjective well-being in families’, Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 3(1), pp.41-65.
Lynn, P. (2011) Maintaining cross-sectional representativeness in a longitudinal general population survey, ISER Working Paper 2011-4. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2011-04
Ferragina, E., Tomlinson, M. and Walker, R. (2011) ‘Determinants of participation in the United Kingdom: a preliminary analysis’, Understanding Society .
Knies, G. (2011) ‘Life satisfaction and material well-being of young people in the UK’, Understanding Society .
Lynn, P., Burton, J., Kaminska, O., Knies, G. and Nandi, A. (2012) An initial look at non-response and attrition in Understanding Society, ISER Working Paper 2012-2. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2012-02
Lynn, P. (2012) The propensity of older respondents to participate in a general population survey, ISER Working Paper 2012-3. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from http://research.understandingsociety.org.uk/publications/working-paper/2012-03
Knies, G., Burton, J. and Sala, E. (2012) ‘Consenting to health record linkage: evidence from a multi-purpose longitudinal survey of a general population’, BMC Health Services Research, 12(1), p.52.
Longhi S. (2013) Individual pro-environmental behaviour in the household context, ISER Working Paper 2013-21. Retrieved 17 February 2014 from https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/working-papers/iser/2013-21.pdf
McFall, S. L. and Buck, N. (2013) ‘Understanding Society – the UK Household Longitudinal Survey: a resource for demographers’, in Applied Demography and Public Health, Springer Netherlands, pp.357-369.
Tippett, N., Wolke, D. and Platt, L. (2013) ‘Ethnicity and bullying involvement in a national UK youth sample’ Journal of Adolescence, 36(4), pp.639-649.
Resulting from secondary analysis:
Demey, D., Berrington, A., Evandrou, M. and Falkingham, J. (2011) 'The changing demography of mid-life, from the 1980s to the 2000s', Population Trends, 145 (Autumn), pp.16-34. Retrieved October 19th, 2011 from http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/population-trends-rd/population-trends/no--145--autumn-2011/ard-pt145-changing-demography.pdf
Demey, D., Berrington, A., Evandrou, M., Falkingham, J. and McGowan, T. (2011) How has mid-life changed in Britain since the 1980s?, CPC Briefing Paper No. 2. Retrieved October 19th, 2011 from http://www.cpc.ac.uk/resources/downloads/Mid_Life_in_Britain_briefing2.pdf
McAloney, K. (2012) 'Inter-faith relationships in Great Britain: prevalence and implications for psychological well-being', Mental Health, Religion and Culture, (online), DOI:10.1080/13674676.2012.714359
Berrington, A., Stone, J. and Falkingham, J. (2013) The impact of parental characteristics and contextual effects on returns to the parental home in Britain, CPC Working Paper 29.
Crawford, C., Dearden, L. and Greaves, E. (2013) When you are born matters: evidence for England, IFS Reports, R80, London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. doi: 10.1920/re.ifs.2013.0080. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r80.pdf
Crawford, C., Dearden, L. and Greaves, E. (2013) The impact of age within academic year on adult outcomes, IFS Working Papers, W13/07, May. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. doi: 10.1920/wp.ifs.2013.1307. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp201307.pdf
Demey, D., Berrington, A., Evandrou, M. and Falkingham, J. (2013) 'Pathways into living alone in mid-life: diversity and policy implications', Advances in Life Course Research, 18(3), pp.161-174. doi:10.1016/j.alcr.2013.02.001
McAloney, K. (2013) ‘Mixed’ religion relationships and well-being in Northern Ireland’, Journal of Religion and Health, pp.1-10.
Demey, D., Berrington, A., Evandrou, M. and Falkingham, J. (2014) 'Living alone and psychological well-being in mid-life: does partnership history matter?', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 168(5), pp.403-410. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2013-202932
Hutchinson, J., White, P.C.L. and Graham, H. (2014) 'Differences in the social patterning of active travel between urban and rural populations: findings from a large UK household survey', International Journal of Public Health. doi 10.1007/s00038-014-0578-2
Correa, S., Durrant, G.B. and P.W. Smith (2014) When to stop calling? Using call record data to assess nonresponse bias in a longitudinal study, paper presented to the International Workshop on Household Survey Nonresponse, 2 September 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland.
Longhi S. (2014) 'Cultural diversity and subjective wellbeing', IZA Journal of Migration, 3(13), DOI: 10.1186/2193-9039-3-13
Kumar,A., Rotik, M. and Ussher, K. (2014) Pay progression: understanding the barriers for the lowest paid, London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Retrieved April 23, 2015, from http://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/pay-progression_2014-understanding-the-barriers-for-the-lowest-paid.pdf