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  • What is the definition of a household?
  • How are students living away treated?
  • What’s a household reference person?
  • Why are there no longitudinal weights for households?

The BHPS is an annual panel survey of individuals living in private households. A household is defined as one person living alone or a group of people who either share living accommodation OR share one meal a day and who have the address as their only or main residence.

The household reference person – sometimes called a “head of household” on some surveys – is the person legally or financially responsible for the accommodation or the elder of two people equally responsible.

Students living away from home are typically enumerated at their term time rather than home address and are treated as living in a separate household. All students and any other respondent moving into institutional accommodation are followed where possible (e.g. a hall of residence or a nursing home). We are not able to interview people in prison.

Although households were the initial sampling unit, the BHPS does not treat them as longitudinal entities as households do not remain constant over time. For this reason, longitudinal weights are not calculated for households. To study households longitudinally, researchers must choose a household member to follow over time and take observations of their household characteristics from wave to wave.

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