British Household Panel Survey

The British Household Panel Survey was carried out by ISER from 1991 until 2009.

The main purpose of the survey was to further the understanding of change at the individual and household level in the UK. BHPS was a multi-purpose study:  

  • It followed the same representative sample of individuals - the panel - over a period of years.
  • It was household-based, interviewing every adult member of sampled households.
  • It contained sufficient cases for meaningful analysis of certain groups such as the elderly or lone parent families.

The Wave 1 panel consisted of approximately 5,500 households and 10,300 individuals drawn from 250 areas of Great Britain. Additional samples of 1,500 households in each of Scotland and Wales were added to the main sample in 1999, and in 2001 a sample of 2,000 households was added in Northern Ireland, making the panel suitable for UK-wide research from 2001 onwards. 

As part of Wave 18, BHPS participants were asked if they would consider joining the new, larger and more wide-ranging survey Understanding Society. Almost 6,700 of just over 8,000 BHPS participants invited to join did so. First interviews with BHPS participants in Understanding Society were carried out in Wave 2 of the Study in 2010-2011.

BHPS and Understanding Society data have been harmonised, allowing researchers to analyse over 25 years of household panel data. The dataset is available from the UK Data Service