About Us

Our participants come from every area of the UK and the study captures important information about people’s social and economic circumstances, attitudes, lifestyle, health, family relationships and employment.

Understanding Society is the largest longitudinal study of its kind and provides crucial information for researchers and policymakers on the changes and stability of people's lives in the UK.

About the study

Understanding Society covers everyone in a household, from children to adults, allowing us to understand the experiences of the whole population.

Study content

A core set of questions are asked every year and others are asked at less frequent intervals.

Our participants

Understanding Society is designed to be representative of the UK population.

Questionnaire development

Survey content is overseen by subject experts and survey methodologist from around the world.

International comparisons

Understanding Society is part of a world-wide group of household panel surveys.


Understanding Society builds on the BHPS.

Meet the team

Understanding Society is led by a team of scientific experts based at research centres across the UK. The Study is based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex.


We are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and a consortium of government departments.


Latest news from Understanding Society.


Latest events from Understanding Society.

MSc Survey Methods

Taught by staff from Understanding Society and based at the Sociology Dept. at the University of Essex.

Contact us

Get in touch and find us.