Geographical indicators now available on _Understanding Society_

Researchers using Understanding Society can now gain a better understanding than ever before of how our lives are affected by where we live after introducing a range of geographical identifiers to the survey.

The team behind the survey, which is interviewing 100,000 individuals in 40,000 UK households annually, has released a range of geographical identifiers about the location of Understanding Society households. These range from Local Authority Districts to Parliamentary Constituencies, Local Education Authorities, Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Organisations to Travel to Work Areas and Urban-Rural indicators.

Indicators at a larger scale such as country of residence are distributed with the general release of the survey, but identifiers at a medium and lower levels are only available to those researchers holding a Special License. Grid References of postcodes are also available, and these can be accessed through the Secure Data Service. All details of the geographical identifiers and how to access them are available as part of an Understanding Society Working Paper by Birgitta Rabe called Geographical Indicators in Understanding Society.

Commenting on the latest development, Birgitta said:

“The identifiers allow users to merge a wealth of data on area characteristics such as measures of deprivation, air pollution, the location of telephone masts with individuals’ responses from the survey. It will be of considerable interest to researchers looking at issues such as the effect that neighbourhood environment has on people’s changing lives and is an exciting development for the survey and for researchers who are interested to get a better understanding of how our lives are affected by where we live.

With the large sample size of Understanding Society, this will make it possible for researchers to observe more individuals in different geographical areas than is possible in other surveys.”


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