UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Understanding Society: Wave 1, 2009-2011: Linked National Pupil Database: Secure Access

Title details

SN: 7642
Title: Understanding Society: Wave 1, 2009-2011: Linked National Pupil Database: Secure Access
Alternative title: United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study; UKHLS
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-7642-2
Series: Understanding Society [Understanding Society: Waves 1- , 2008-: Secure Access]
Depositor: University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research
Principal investigator(s): Department for Education
University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research
Data collector(s): Capgemini
Kantar Public
Sponsor(s): 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
Scottish Government
Welsh Assembly Government
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food Standards Agency
Department of Health
Northern Ireland Executive
Grant number: ES/K005146


The citation for this study is:

Department for Education, University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research. (2015). Understanding Society: Wave 1, 2009-2011: Linked National Pupil Database: Secure Access. [data collection]. 2nd Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 7642,

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Subject Categories

Consumer behaviour - Economics
Family life and marriage - Social stratification and groupings
General - Education
General - Employment and labour
Income, property and investment - Economics
Primary, pre-primary and secondary - Education
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture
Social indicators and quality of life - Society and culture


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

Understanding Society (UK Household Longitudinal Study), which began in 2009, is conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), at the University of Essex, and the survey research organisations are Kantar Public and NatCen. It builds on and incorporates, the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), which began in 1991. The latest release combines the first seven waves of Understanding Society data with harmonised data from all eighteen waves of the BHPS. As multi-topic studies, the purpose of Understanding Society and BHPS is to understand short- and long-term effects of social and economic change in the UK at the household and individual levels. The study has a strong emphasis on domains of family and social ties, employment, education, financial resources, and health.

Understanding Society is an annual survey of each adult member of a nationally representative sample. The same individuals are re-interviewed in each wave approximately 12 months apart. When individuals move they are followed within the UK and anyone joining their households are also interviewed as long as they are living with them. The study has five sample components: the general population sample, a boost sample of ethnic minority group members, an immigrant and ethnic minority boost sample (from wave 6), participants from the BHPS and the Innovation Panel (which is a separate standalone survey (see SN 6849 for EUL version; SN 7083 for Special Licence version; and SN 7332 for Secure Access version). The fieldwork period is for 24 months. Data collection primarily uses computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), but includes a telephone mop up, and from Wave 7 of Understanding Society, web-based interviews. One person completes the household questionnaire. Each person aged 16 or older participates in the individual adult interview and self-completed questionnaire. Youths aged 10 to 15 are asked to respond to a paper self-completion questionnaire. For the general and BHPS samples biomarker, genetic and epigenetic data are also available (see SN 7251).

Further information about the survey may be found on the Understanding Society main stage webpage.

Secure Access Dataset:
The Understanding Society: Linked National Pupil Database: Secure Access study contains nine files extracted from the National Pupil Database (NPD). These can be linked (within the Secure Access service) to Understanding Society participants using the cross-wave personal identifier (variable pidp). The NPD files include information on pupil background, attainment, school absences and exclusions for all individuals with a valid consent to education linkage collected in Wave 1 of Understanding Society. This includes consents collected from parents of children aged 4-15 and of young adults aged 16+ and born in 1981 or later. The included files cover Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) data on pupil background; pupil attainment data for the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) (age 5) and Key Stages (KS) 1 (age 7), KS2 (age 11), KS3 (age 14), KS4 (age 16) and KS5 (ages 17-18); and absences and exclusions (ages 4-16). See documentation for further details.

Related UK Data Archive studies:
The Secure Access version of Understanding Society is held under SN 6676. This has more restrictive access conditions than standard End User Licence or Special Licence Access versions; further details and links to the less restrictive versions can be found on the Understanding Society series Key data webpage.

The Archive also holds separate (i.e. not linked to Understanding Society) data from the National Pupil Database, available under Secure Access and Safe Room Access conditions. See SNs 7626, 7627 and 7628 (Secure Access) and SNs 7590, 7625, 7600, 7595, 7612 and 7606 (Safe Room Access) for details.

The second edition (December 2015) includes data files for absences, exclusions and Key Stage 5, as well as an updated documentation file.

Main Topics:
Topics covered in the data files include educational attainment scores, test/examination results, and school absences and exclusions, with a linking variable for matching with Understanding Society data as noted in the Abstract section above. Local authority identifiers and individual school codes are included in the data. Demographic information such as ethnic groups, languages spoken at home, deprivation indices, eligibility for free school meals and special educational needs is also included in the PLASC Census file. See documentation for further details.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: January 2009 - March 2011 - Linked NPD data are currently available for Wave 1.
Country: Great Britain
Spatial units: Local Authority Districts
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Alpha/numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
Eligible consenting participants in Wave 1 of Understanding Society.
Time dimensions: Longitudinal/panel/cohort
Sampling procedures: Multi-stage stratified random sample
Two-stage stratified systematic sample - see documentation for details
Number of units: Absences: 33,781 cases; Exclusions: 880 cases; PLASC Census: 7,524 cases; EYFSP: 1,983 cases; KS1: 6,296 cases; KS2: 5,911 cases; KS3: 4,701 cases; KS4: 3,818 cases; KS5: 3,326 cases.
Method of data collection: Compilation or synthesis of existing material
Weighting: Weighting used. See documentation for details.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 10 February 2015
Latest edition: 09 December 2015 (2nd Edition)
Copyright: Crown copyright held jointly with the Economic and Social Research Council. Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.
Access conditions: Registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor will be informed about usage. Controlled data requirements and conditions also apply. Further information is available from Access to the Secure Lab. In addition, the Service is required to request explicit permission from the data owner prior to providing the researcher with access to the data.
Available to UK HE/FE applicants only.

Please note:
Since these data are more sensitive and/or pose a higher risk of disclosure than data made available under the standard End User Licence or under a Special Licence, they are not available for download but may be accessed through Secure Access. Access requires accreditation as an ESRC Accredited Researcher, completion of face-to-face training, and agreement to the Secure Access User Agreement and the Licence Compliance Policy. This is to ensure that the guarantee of confidentiality given to survey respondents is protected. Applications are screened by the UK Data Archive and the individual or institution having ownership of the data (or their designated authority), and access is only granted to those researchers requiring data for statistical research purposes and who can justify their need for the data. Users who obtain access to these data are also required to read and follow the Microdata Handling and Security: Guide to Good Practice.

Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
UK Data Archive Data Dictionary 7642allfiles_ukda_data_dictionary.pdf 445
Understanding Society Linked UKHLS-NPD Documentation, Wave 1 7642npd_link_documentation_w1_oct_2015.pdf 2612
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_7642_Information.htm 7
READ File read7642.htm 11


View publications... Hide publications...

By principal investigator(s):

For links to publications based on Understanding Society, including those listed below and others, please see the Understanding Society Publications webpage.

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

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

Lynn, P. (2009), Sample design for Understanding Society, ISER Working Paper 2009-1. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from

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

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

Rabe, B. (2011) Geographical identifiers in Understanding Society, version 1, ISER Working Paper 2011-1. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from

Nandi, A., Platt, L. (2011) Effect of interview modes on measurement of identity, ISER Working Paper 2011-2. Retrieved 14 November 2014 from

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

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

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

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

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:

For links to publications based on Understanding Society, including those listed below and others, please see the Understanding Society Publications webpage.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Cruise, S.M., Patterson, L., Cardwell, C.R. and O'Reilly, D. (2015) 'Large panel-survey data demonstrated country-level and ethnic minority variation in consent for health record linkage', Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 68, pp.684-692. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.01.011 (ISSN 0895-4356).

Dodds, R.M., Syddall, H.E., Cooper, R. et al. (2014) 'Grip strength across the life course: normative data from twelve British studies', PLoS ONE, 9(12): e113637. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113637

Evans, K. (2016)Working well: how employers can improve the wellbeing and productivity of their workforce, London: Social Market Foundation. Retrieved February 2nd, 2016 from

Keohane, N. (2016) Longer lives, stronger families: the changing nature of intergenerational support, London: Social Market Foundation. ISBN: 978-1-910683-08-8. Retrieved February 8th, 2016 from

Wakeling, P., Berrington, A. and Duta, A. (2015) Investigating an age threshold for independence at postgraduate level, Bristol: Higher Education Funding Council for England. Retrieved June 7th, 2016 from,105806,en.html

Wheatley, D. and Bickerton, C., (2016) 'Subjective well-being and engagement in arts, culture and sport', Journal of Cultural Economics, forthcoming. doi: 10.1007/s10824-016-9270-0.

Zischka L. (2016) The link between 'giving' behaviours and a healthy social environment, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Reading. See record at

Chng, S., White, M., Abraham, C. and Skippon, S. (2016) 'Commuting and wellbeing in London: the roles of commute mode and local public transport connectivity', Preventive Medicine, Jul;88:182-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.04.014. Epub 2016 Apr 16.

Emerson, E., Hatton, C., Baines, S.and Robertson, J. (2016) 'The physical health of British adults with intellectual disability: cross sectional study', International Journal for Equity in Health, 15:11 doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0296-x

Emerson, E., Krnjacki, K., Llewellyn, G., Vaughan, C., Kavanagh, A. (2016) 'Perceptions of safety and exposure to violence in public places among working age adults with disabilities or long-term health conditions in the UK: Cross sectional study', Public Health 135, pp.91-6. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2015.10.036

Waller, S. Deane, J., Bradley, M., Hosking, I. and Clarkson, J. (2016) Inclusive Design Toolkit [website], University of Cambridge, Engineering Design Centre.

Hatton, C., Emerson, E., Robertson, J. and Baines, S. (2017) 'The mental health of British adults with intellectual impairments', Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 30, pp.188-197. doi: 10.1111/jar.12232

Evans, K., Holkar, M. and Murray. (2017) Overstretched, overdrawn, underserved: financial difficulty and mental health at work, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. Retrieved June 8th, 2017 from

Williams, M. and E. Gardiner (2017). ‘The power of personality at work: core self-evaluations and earnings in the United Kingdom’, Human Resource Management Journal.

Sacker, A., Ross, A., MacLeod, C.A., Netuveli, G. and Windle, G. (2017) 'Health and social exclusion in older age: evidence from Understanding Society, the UK household longitudinal study', J Epidemiol Community Health, 71(7), pp.681-690. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-208037

MacLeod, C.A., Ross, A., Sacker, A. and Windle, G. (2017) 'Re-thinking social exclusion in later life: a case for a new framework for measurement', Ageing and Society, September, pp.1-38. doi:10.1017/S0144686X17000794

Melo, P.C., Ge, J., Craig,T., Brewer, M.J. and Thronicker, I. (2018) 'Does work-life balance affect pro-environmental behaviour? Evidence for the UK using longitudinal microdata, Ecological Economics, 145, March, pp.170–181. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.09.006


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