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Following the lives of people in 40,000 households and providing valuable evidence about 21st century life in the UK.

Understanding Society (UKHLS) is an innovative world-leading study about 21st century UK life and how it is changing. It captures important information about social and economic circumstances, attitudes and behaviours and the health of people living in thousands of households.

100,000+ people

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Over 100,000 individuals are involved including young people aged 10-15 years old.

40,000 households

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A large sample size of 40,000 households throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

5,040 postal codes

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2,640 postcodes in England, Scotland and Wales and 2,400 postcodes from Northern Ireland.

3 billion points of data

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Approximately 3 billion data points of information.

Key Features

Innovative features, combine the traditional value of BHPS with new opportunities.


Data Linkage

UKHLS is being linked to a range of other data, increasing and enhancing research opportunities.


Health Assessment

UKHLS collects additional health-related information from 20,000 of its participants.


Innovation Panel

A unique resource for carrying out innovative longitudinal experimental and methodological research.



The study has a boost sample of over 6,000 adults from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Who is it for?

Understanding Society is used to produce top quality research, which informs, influences and checks the success of social, economic and health policy and practice in the UK and abroad.

Researchers and analysts

Whether it's looking at the impacts of recession or analysing the effect of a new policy, the sheer size and scope of the survey enables researchers to draw more accurate conclusions about the UK.

Policy makers and politicians

The data and subsequent research inform politicians and civil servants to help make the right decisions on behalf of all of us.

Pressure groups and commentators

Pressure groups, independent policy analysts, journalists, voluntary, community and commercial organisations use the data to lobby and report based on hard evidence.

The general public

Society benefits from social and economic policies and public debate based on innovative and high-quality research.