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Latest Release of BHPS Data - 2018 edition

A new edition of the BHPS dataset is now available from the Data Archive.

This new edition of the British Household Panel Survey data incorporates a number of enhancements and corrections to the data for BHPS waves 1 to 18 since the previous release in 2010. These changes are listed in Appendix 4 of the updated User Guide.

In summary they involve:

  • the addition to the main data set of net income variables, previously released separately
  • the addition variables to assist linkage to the Understanding Society data set which which includes BHPS sample members
  • some enhancements to data included in the XWAVEDAT file
  • a range of data corrections mainly from user comments: these include limited corrections to income data, fixing issues with employment history and occupation data at wave 18 and some issues with weights.

The documentation has been updated to reflect the changes made in this release. It should be noted that the list of publications in Appendix 5 of the User Guide has not been updated. However, an up to date list of BHPS publications is maintained at

It should be noted that for this release there is now a separation between a standard End User Licence (SN 5151) release and a Special Licence release (SN 8380). The former has some limits on the range of more disclosive variables, either where variables are dropped (e.g. month of birth) or a condensed classification is used (e.g. for occupation variables). Researchers requiring variables only held in the Special Licence will need to apply for access through the UKDS which will require approval from the data owners as per the process required for access to other Special Licences. Please see Acquiring the data for details.

The dataset documented here is intended for users wishing to use BHPS waves 1 to 18 on their own. The main version of Understanding Society which ISER is now releasing is a harmonised version which incorporates the 18 waves of BHPS data and uses consistent variable naming between the two studies. This latter version should be used where researchers wish to analyse both BHPS and Understanding Society data together.

The updated BHPS Documentation, which includes the latest Wave 18 Volumes and Questionnaires, is now available.

Please note that if you have never used the BHPS before, it is advisable to take a look at the User Documentation, the User Guide in particular.