UK Longitudinal Studies Centre

ULSC logo

The UK Longitudinal Studies Centre (ULSC) is a resource centre that promotes longitudinal research, and designs, manages and supports longitudinal surveys. It is responsible for undertaking the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), one of the most heavily-used surveys in social science research in the UK. The ULSC was established in 1999.

The ULSC is a part of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. ISER also contains the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-social Change (MISOC) and a range of other substantive research activities, the most prominent of which for the ESRC is Understanding Society. ISER is one of the leading international centres for multi-disciplinary longitudinal research.

About the UK Longitudinal Studies Centre

The ULSC undertakes a wide portfolio of activities and services, including:

  • collecting and disseminating the BHPS data
  • providing services in the design and management of longitudinal survey research, including advice to those establishing new surveys
  • running a methodological research programme to improve longitudinal survey methods
  • promoting and supporting the application of research methods appropriate for the analysis of longitudinal survey data
  • promoting best practice in the collection, management and production of high quality data for users
  • managing longitudinal survey resources to enable easier access to longitudinal data, information and advice.

The British Household Panel Survey

The main objective of the BHPS is to further our understanding of social and economic change at the individual and household level in the UK. The BHPS serves as a research resource for a wide range of social science disciplines and supports interdisciplinary research. The BHPS also provides data suitable for comparative research with other panel surveys in Europe and the US.

The longitudinal design means that the same individuals are re-interviewed on each successive year and, if they split-off from original households to form new households, all adult members of these households are also interviewed. Similarly, children become eligible for interview as they reach the age of 16. Thus the sample has remained broadly representative of the population of Britain, and provides unique data on the dynamics of change in that population.

The BHPS has been running since 1991, and now includes around 9,000 households and 22,000 individual members. The samples in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been boosted to permit independent analysis. Interviews cover household composition, housing conditions, residential mobility, education and training, health and the usage of health services, labour market behaviour, socio-economic values and income.

How to access ULSC data

ULSC activities are described in greater detail on the ULSC website.

The ISER website also includes other online resources, including a database of longitudinal studies around the world.

BHPS data is available free of charge from the UK Data Archive. If you have an Athens user account, you can use your ID and password to register with the archive. If you do not have an Athens account, details of how to access the data are on the ESDS website.

Further information