||Understanding Society: Waves 1-2, 2009-2011
||United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study; UKHLS
|| Understanding Society: Waves 1- , 2008-
|| 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
Understanding Society - Major studies
Consumer behaviour - Economics
Income, property and investment - Economics
General - Employment and labour
General - Health
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture
Social indicators and quality of life - Society and culture
Family life and marriage - Social stratification and groupings
|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 is NatCen Social Research (formerly the National Centre for 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. The study has a strong emphasis on domains of family and social ties, work, financial resources, and health. Further information about the survey may be found in the documentation, and on the Understanding Society web site.
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, and the second wave between January 2010 and January 2012.
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 to 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.
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).
|SN 6614, Understanding Society: Waves 1-2, edition history:
- The first edition (released December 2010) comprised data and documentation from Wave 1, Year 1.
- For the second edition (November 2011), materials for the second year of Wave 1 were added to the study, which now comprises the full set of Wave 1 data and documentation.
- For the third edition (February 2012) data and materials for the first year of Wave 2 were added to the study. The purpose of the Wave 2 interim release was to provide early access to longitudinal data from Understanding Society for the general population sample component, prior to the release of the full Wave 2 data in late 2012. This early release also contained data from the sample component of BHPS participants, but not the Ethnic Minority Boost sample component.
- For the fourth edition (January 2013) finalised data and documentation from Wave 2 were deposited, along with updated data and documentation for Wave 1. See documentation for full details of revisions and updates.
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: 8 January 2009-7 March 2011; Wave 2: January 2010-end 2011, with some interviews taking place in January 2012.
Government Office Regions
Families and households
Kind of data:
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 (26,089 from general population sample, 4,080 from ethnic minority boost sample); 50,994 adults (43,674 from general population sample, 7,320 from ethnic minority boost sample); 4,899 young people aged 10-15 years (3,995 from general population sample, 904 from ethnic minority boost sample).
Wave 2: 30,508 households (21,025 from general population sample, 2,791 from ethnic minority boost sample, 6,692 from former BHPS sample); 54,597 adults (36,963 from general population sample, 5,598 from ethnic minority boost sample, 12,063 from former BHPS sample); 5,020 young people aged 10-15: (3,239 from general population sample, 664 from ethnic minority boost sample, 1,117 from former BHPS sample).
Method of data collection:
Face-to-face interview; Self-completion
Weighting used. See documentation for details.
Buck, N. (2008) Understanding Society: design overview, Understanding Society working paper series, 2008-01.
Burton, J. (2008) Understanding Society: Some preliminary results from the wave 1 Innovation Panel, Understanding Society working paper series, 2008-03.
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, Understanding Society working paper series, 2008-02.
Burton, J., Laurie, H. and Uhrig, S.C.N. (2010) Understanding Society Innovation Panel Wave 2: results from methodological experiments, Understanding Society working paper series, 2010-04.
Gray, M. et al. (2008) Cognitive testing of Understanding Society. The UK Household Longitudinal Study questionnaire, Understanding Society working paper series, 2008-04.
Laurie, H. (2010) Continuity and innovation in the design of Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study, Understanding Society working paper series, 2010-02.
Lynn, P. (2009) Sample design for Understanding Society, Understanding Society working paper series, 2009-01.
Lynn, P. and Kaminska, O. (2010) Weighting strategy for Understanding Society, Understanding Society working paper series, 2010-05.
Lynn, P., Uhrig, S.C.N. and Burton, J. (2010) Lessons from a randomised experiment with mixed-mode designs for a household panel survey, Understanding Society working paper series, 2010-03.
Lynn, P. (2011) Maintaining cross-sectional representativeness in a longitudinal general population survey, Understanding Society working paper series, 2011-04.
McFall, S. L., Garrington, Chris. (2011) Early findings from the first wave of the UK's household longitudinal study. Colchester: Institute for Social and Economic Research.
Nandi, A. and Platt, L. (2009) Developing ethnic identity questions for Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, Understanding Society working paper series, 2009-03.
Nandi, A. and Platt, L. (2010) Effect of interview modes on measurement of identity, Understanding Society working paper series, 2011-02.
Pudney, S. (2010) An experimental analysis of the impact of survey design on measures and models of subjective well-being, Understanding Society working paper series 2010-01.
Links to the documents named above and further working papers and publications may be found on the Understanding Society Publications web page.