UK Data Service series record for:
The British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) was carried out by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex from 1991-2009 (Waves 1-18). The main objective of the survey was to further understanding of social and economic change at the individual and household level in Britain (the UK from Wave 11 onwards), to identify, model and forecast such changes, their causes and consequences in relation to a range of socio-economic variables. From Wave 19, the BHPS became part of a new longitudinal study called Understanding Society, or the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), conducted by ISER. The BHPS sample is part of Understanding Society from Wave 2 onwards and BHPS sample members have an identifier within the Understanding Society datasets, allowing users to match BHPS Wave 1-18 data to Understanding Society Wave 2 data and onwards.
GN 33196 | British Household Panel Survey, 1991-2009
GN 33391 | British Household Panel Survey, 1991-: Conditional Access, Medium-Level Geographical Identifiers
GN 33398 | British Household Panel Survey, 1991-: Special Licence Access, Lower-Level Geographical Identifiers
GN 33407 | British Household Panel Survey, 1991-: Secure Access
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The main objective of the survey is to further our understanding of social and economic change at the individual and household level in Britain, to identify, model and forecast such changes, their causes and consequences in relation to a range of socio-economic variables. The BHPS is designed as a research resource for a wide range of social science disciplines and to support interdisciplinary research in many areas.
The BHPS was designed as an annual survey of each adult (16+) member of a nationally representative sample of more than 5,000 households, making a total of approximately 10,000 individual interviews. The same individuals were re-interviewed in successive waves and, if they split-off from original households, all adult members of their new households were also interviewed. Children were interviewed once they reach the age of 16; there is also a special survey of 11-15 year old household members from Wave 4 (1994) onwards. Thus the sample remained broadly representative of the population of Britain as it changed through the 1990s. Wave 9 includes extra samples from Wales and Scotland with an emphasis on the Welsh language and feelings of nationality. Wave 11 includes an additional sample from Northern Ireland, which formed the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey (NIHPS), and was added to increase the representivity of the whole of the United Kingdom.
Note: The BHPS sample is part of Understanding Society from Wave 2 of that study. BHPS sample members will have an identifier within the Understanding Society datasets, allowing BHPS users to match BHPS Wave 1-18 data to Understanding Society Wave 2 (and onwards) data.
The first 18 waves of the BHPS cover 1991-2009. From 2010, the BHPS became part of the Understanding Society study. The BHPS sample is still questioned annually.
The main BHPS is available to download in SPSS, Stata, and ASCII formats. Other formats, such as SAS, may be available upon request. There are also a number of datasets associated with the main data - see British Household Panel Survey datasets. These are all available in SPSS, Stata, and ASCII formats.
Frequencies are given in Volume B of the documentation. This is freely downloadable in PDF format via British Household Panel Survey and also online at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) BHPS User Documentation web pages where you can list the variables (together with their frequencies) that come under certain 'Index Terms' (subject categories) or record types. Details of publications are given in the BHPS publications section of the BHPS data catalogue record and in the ISER web pages (ISER conducts the BHPS).
BHPS data are available with a variety of different spatial identifiers. The standard End User Licence collections contain Government Office Region whilst the Conditional Access and Special Licence Access collections have variables at medium and lower-level respectively. The Secure Access data collection uses National Grid References. For more information please scroll up this page to the 'Data Access' section and expand the data collection lists for GN 33391, GN 33398, and GN 33407. The title of the data collection will indicate which spatial identifer is available e.g. Local Authority Districts.
Many of the questions asked in Wave 1 have been repeated in subsequent waves. Some are repeated in all waves; these are the 'Core' questions (including current employment, current finances, neighbourhood and health). Some variables appear in alternating waves or on a cyclical basis; these are known as the 'Rotating Core' questions (including attitudes to morality and religion, life satisfaction, government roles and responsibilities, the environment). Some groups of questions will be asked only once in the life of the panel study; these are known as the non-core or 'Variable Components' (such as 'What age did you leave school?', 'Where were you born?'). More details are provided in the Introduction to the BHPS, Longitudinal Aspects section of the Survey User Guide. Documentation is freely downloadable in PDF format via British Household Panel Survey and also online at the BHPS User Documentation web pages.
The BHPS should always be ordered in its entirety since it is an integrated dataset. With each new wave that is produced, changes are made to the data and documentation from at least the previous wave. Data changes relate in particular to the adjustment of previous imputations.
Yes, for all waves all occupations are coded to the 1990 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC90) and also to the 1980 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC80). SIC92 (compatible with NACE) has been included in waves 4 and 7 and waves 11 onwards. SOC2000 has been included since wave 11. Various other standardised social class scales are also used. The BHPS uses the General Health Questionnaire to measure mental health (all waves), the Activities and Daily Living questionnaire (waves 7-8 and 10-13) to ascertain the activities of elderly people, the Short Form 36 (waves 9 and 14) to measure mental and physical health and CASP19 Quality of Life questions (at waves 11 and 16). For more information on standard coding schemes, please consult the BHPS documentation which is freely downloadable in PDF format via British Household Panel Survey and also online at the BHPS User Documentation web pages.
The ECHP survey presents comparable micro-level (persons/households) data on income, living conditions, housing, health and work in the EU. The survey covers all but one of the EU member states and follows the same private households and persons over consecutive years from 1994-2001. The BHPS provided the UK component and when the ECHP was introduced, it was necessary for the BHPS to modify some questions and to add others (including non-monetary poverty indicators and questions on EU citizenship).
The ECHP may be accessed via Eurostat.
1. Variable lists and PDF user guides (including questionnaires) are freely available in the British Household Panel Survey catalogue record.
2. The documentation, including the questionnaires, is available from the BHPS User Documentation web pages where you can list the variables (together with their frequencies) that come under certain 'Index Terms' (subject categories) or record types.
All Record Type names begin with a single character wave identifier; A = Wave 1, B = Wave 2, and so on. In the BHPS documentation, this wave-specific character has been replaced by a generic 'w'. The rest of the name attempts to provide a meaningful mnemonic given the data content (e.g. HH = household, IND = individual, RESP = respondent). Three records (XWAVEDAT, XWAVEID and XWLSTEN) contain cross-wave matching information.
All variable names begin with a single character wave identifier, replaced by a generic 'w' in the documentation (as above). The rest of the name is a mnemonic which attempts to give some information as to the content of the variable. In general, the second and third characters give some indication of the general subject area of the variable. The conventions used are described in Volume A, The BHPS Data, Naming Conventions, Table 5. This is freely downloadable in PDF format via British Household Panel Survey datasets and also at BHPS User Documentation.
After wave 18, BHPS data will be made available as part of the Understanding Society study.