British Household Panel Survey (BHPS)

 The BHPS is carried out by ISER (Institute for Social & Economic Research) at the University of Essex and was designed as an annual survey of each adult (16+) member of a nationally representative sample of more than 5000 households, making a total of approximately 10000 interviews. The main objective of the survey is to further understanding of social and economic change at individual and household level in Britain, and to identify, model and forecast such changes, their causes and consequences in relation to a range of socio-economic variables.

The BHPS provides information on household organisation, employment, accommodation, tenancy, income and wealth, housing, health, socio-economic values, residential mobility, marital and relationship history, social support, and individual and household demographics.

Wave 9 saw the recruitment of two additional samples to the BHPS in Scotland and Wales to permit independent analysis of the two countries and to facilitate analysis compared to England in order to assess the impact of devolution. Wave 11 saw the formation of the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey (NIHPS), to extend representation to cover the whole of the UK. 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.

The BHPS provided the UK component of the European Community Household Panel (ECHP). The ECHP survey presents comparable micro-level (persons/households) data on income, living conditions, housing, health and work in the European Union (EU).

Spatial Coverage: 
United Kingdom
Data Creator: 
University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research
Time Period: 

Longitudinal/panel/cohort study: Series of annual waves from 1991/92 to the present

Data Publisher:


Plans are afoot to replace the BHPS with the UK Household Longitudinal Study . This study aims to build on and enhance the BHPS. The Living in Scotland survey is the Scottish component of the UKHLS.

Data Access: 

Users must register with the UKDS before accessing data files.