The British Household Panel Survey began in 1991 and is a multi-purpose study whose unique value resides in the fact that:

  • it follows the same representative sample of individuals – the panel – over a period of years;
  • it is household-based, interviewing every adult member of sampled households;
  • it contains sufficient cases for meaningful analysis of certain groups such as the elderly or lone parent families.

The wave 1 panel consisted of some 5,500 households and 10,300 individuals drawn from 250 areas of Great Britain. Additional samples of 1,500 households in each of Scotland and Wales were added to the main sample in 1999, and in 2001 a sample of 2,000 households was added in Northern Ireland, making the panel suitable for UK-wide research.

As part of wave 18, BHPS participants were asked if they would consider joining the new, larger and more wide-ranging survey Understanding Society. Almost 6,700 of just over 8,000 BHPS participants invited to join did so. First interviews with BHPS participants in Understanding Society were carried out in wave 2 of the study in 2010-2011.

Find out more about Understanding Society