UK Data Service series record for:
The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is a continuous survey that was launched in 1992 to meet the information requirements of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) analysts. The survey aims to: support the monitoring of the social security programme; support the costing and modelling of changes to national insurance contributions and social security benefits; and provide better information for the forecasting of benefit expenditure.
You can find links to the datasets in the DATA ACCESS section above. When you follow the link to a dataset you will be taken to its catalogue record which contains the following information:
Most survey data may be downloaded as SPSS, Stata or tab-delimited files. There is a download button near the top right of each catalogue record. Most datasets can be downloaded after you login to your UK Data Service account. See our Access pages for more information about how to access data.
See our Use data pages for more advice about getting started with analyses. These pages contain advice and training; guides about datasets, topics and methods and software including SPSS and Stata; information about how others have used the data and how to cite datasets. See also our Events pages for courses and webinars about how to find, use and manage data.
The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is a continuous survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics and National Centre for Social Research with an annual target sample of 24,000 private households. Respondents are asked a wide range of questions about their financial circumstances including receipt of Social Security benefits, housing costs, assets and savings.
The FRS has been conducted on an annual basis since 1992. Data are available from 1993-4 onwards. For an up-to-date list of available datasets, please see the list under DATA ACCESS on this webpage.
The FRS covers families and households in private households in the UK.
Yes. Information is held at the household level, individual level and the ‘benefit unit’ level.
Household characteristics (composition, tenure type); tenure and housing costs including Council Tax, mortgages, insurance, water and sewage rates; welfare/school milk and meals; educational grants and loans; children in education; informal care (given and received); childcare; occupation and employment; health restrictions on work; children's health; National Health Service treatment; wage details; self-employed earnings; personal and occupational pension schemes; income and benefit receipt; income from pensions and trusts, royalties and allowances, maintenance and other sources; income tax payments and refunds; National Insurance contributions; earnings from odd jobs; children's earnings; interest and dividends; investments; National Savings products; assets; vehicle ownership.
Variable lists and PDF user guides (including questionnaires) are freely available among the documentation on the catalogue page for each year of the survey. You can find a list of the surveys in the DATA ACCESS section of this webpage. To find a survey catalogue page, follow the link from this page under DATA ACCESS or from the Discover results pages.
The household table (and, from 2000-01, benunit and adult tables too) also hold the variable ‘gross’, which is a weight variable. This serves two purposes: firstly to scale figures to the total population and secondly to compensate for non-response to the survey. See the document Analysing the FRS (in the survey documentation) for advice on how to analyse the datasets and weight data.
You can find an introductory guide to the FRS, written by the Department for Work and Pensions, among the survey documentation to the FRS 2009-2010 .
These are published in the official FRS reports and are available from a good academic library or from The Stationery Office. The Department for Work and Pensions website contains annual publications which summarise the results of the full survey year. The FRS Annual Technical Reports are freely downloadable in Adobe Acrobat PDF format from the National Statistics website.
The HBAI gives information on the standard of living of the household population in the UK, focusing on the lower part of income distribution, as determined by disposable income and changes in income patterns over time.
There are two HBAI datasets available via the UK Data Service, Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) Households Below Average Income Dataset (1961-1991) and Households Below Average Income (1994/95-) produced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The gap between 1991 and 1994 is due to a historical difference between the two data series.
The IFS used the Family Expenditure Survey (FES) data to create a time series of households below average income. They used an independent methodology and the results are totally independent from any shown in the DWP HBAI publication/dataset.
The DWP have, since 1994/95 produced a new time series using a new methodology based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS) data. The FRS started in 1993/94 but due to poorer data quality in that year, it was not used for the HBAI.
These datasets are not directly comparable and if they are used to provide a longer combined time series this should be made very clear in the footnotes.
Note that the Households Below Average Income report (available at http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai) shows results back to 1979 for a mixture of single years, and two combined years. The FES data in these examples has been manipulated using a methodology consistent to the FRS data for the period 1994/95 to 2008/09 where possible and is different to the IFS data noted above. However these FES datasets are not available through the UK Data Archive because the DWP do not consider the data suitable for public release.
The Individual Income Series provides estimates of the individual income of women and men in Great Britain and changes in income over time. These provide a means of comparing the income accruing to women with that accruing to men, either directly or in their own right. Individual income estimates cover all adult women and men, whether living as couples or as single persons. The data are derived directly from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) and the Households Below Average Income (HBAI).
The Individual Income Series is distinct in that they seek to compare the incomes that accrue to women with those that accrue to men. This information complements data in other official statistics publications, which address different issues: HM Revenue and Customs' statistics cover only taxable income; certain other statistics cover only earned income; and other series such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) HBAI analyse household income.
Using the Family Resources Survey for teaching
See our teaching pages for practical information, exemplars, and tips for using UK Data Service data in teaching, including:
teaching case studies