Main Survey

Survey timeline

Understanding Society builds on its predecessor project, the British Household Panel Survey. Starting in 1991, the British Household Panel Survey initially interviewed 5,000 households in the UK. Additional samples of 1,500 households in each of Scotland and Wales were added to the main sample in 1999, and in 2001 2,000 households were added in Northern Ireland, making the panel suitable for UK-wide research. The British Household Panel Survey ended in 2009, when Understanding Society started. Participants from the British Household Panel Survey were asked if they would like to join Understanding Society and over 6,000 of them did so. 

Many design features, instruments, and questions from the British Household Panel Survey live on in Understanding Society and data collection from eligible British Household Panel Survey sample members continues as part of Understanding Society, offering opportunities to exploit data from the two studies jointly to create a long panel of data.