Wave 5 data released

A quarter of a million interviews now available to aid research into how the UK is changing

Understanding Society’s fifth wave of longitudinal data is now available from the UK Data Service. It includes data from over 41,000 interviews with adults and over 3,600 obtained from children aged 10 to 15.

In total, waves 1-5 include data obtained from 228,000 interviews with just over 70,000 adults and their households. Nearly 10,000 10-15 year olds have been interviewed to date and the total number of interviews with young people now exceeds 22,000.

What’s new in the main survey?

In the latest data release, new survey modules include:

Cultural participation:

  • Are you currently a member of a sports club?
  • Do you or your family put up a Christmas tree?
  • Do you or your family send Christmas cards?
  • Do you or your family send a card to your mother or father on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day?

Download the Understanding Society User Guide

Workplace composition:

  • What is the ethnic group of your immediate boss?
  • Is your immediate boss male or female?
  • How many of your co-workers have the same ethnic background as you?
  • How many of your co-workers are White British, that is either English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish?

These new modules sit alongside reoccurring questions on childcare, caring and employment, which have been answered by participants every year.

In the self-completed part of the questionnaire, the participants have also answered new questions on the Scottish referendum, adult identity, adult self-efficacy and adult delayed self-gratification. Participants were also asked about which mode they prefer to complete the survey in, e.g. phone, web or face-to-face.

New young adult questionnaire content

For the first time, participants aged 16-24 years old were asked about their ethnic identity in the self-completed questionnaire. Questions include:

  • How important is the English language to your sense of who you are?
  • How important is your religion to your sense of who you are?
  • How important is the country where you were born to your sense of who you are?

“The fifth wave of Understanding Society data provides researchers with rich opportunities to investigate changes in people’s lives. As the Study becomes better known, the number and breadth of people using the data and publishing findings is growing steeply. We encourage users to get involved in shaping the Study through proposing experiments in the Innovation Panel or to run Associated Studies and we ourselves are experimenting with new ways to collect better quality data.” Michaela Benzeval, Director of Understanding Society

Download waves 1-5 from the UK Data Service

Resources for researchers

Do you use Understanding Society data?

To ensure your research is recorded in our publications archive, please email the web editor or contact us on Twitter @usociety. All Understanding Society research is considered for case studies, policy events and publications such as our annual findings report, Insights