New COVID-19 data released

The first Wave of the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey is now available to researchers.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Understanding Society, with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council and the Health Foundation, has initiated a new COVID-19 survey. The web-based questionnaire asks about the impact of the coronavirus on the welfare of UK individuals, families and wider communities. The first Wave of the survey was fielded in April 2020 and the data are now available from the UK Data Service. 

The new survey forms an integral part of Understanding Society, a representative sample of UK households, with boost samples of Black and minority ethnic groups. Researchers can link data from the COVID-19 survey to answers respondents have given in past (and future) waves of the annual survey. 

Participants complete a short regular survey, which includes core content designed to track changes, alongside variable content adapted as the coronavirus situation develops, drawing on proposals from the research community. The Wave 1 data, released today, includes questions on: 

  • Coronavirus symptoms and test results
  • Long-term health conditions 
  • Caring 
  • Loneliness  and mental health
  • Employment  and financial security  
  • Time use in the household
  • Home schooling
  • Food and alcohol consumption 
  • Smoking 
  • Exercise

Over 17,450 participants completed the survey in the first month. The second Wave of the online survey is currently in the field, and telephone interviews have started for respondents who live in a household where no-one is a regular internet user. Data from the second Wave will be available by the end of June. 

Researchers can access the new dataset via the UK Data Service.  A User Guide is also available to help researchers make the best use of these data. 

To highlight some of the features of the dataset the Understanding Society team are putting together short briefing notes focussing on specific topics. The first briefing note on The Economic Effects of COVID-19 pandemic is available to download here