Understanding Society has a special survey that asks our participants about their experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the current coronavirus situation in the UK, there is an even greater need for data about the experiences of the whole population. The Understanding Society COVID-19 questionnaire allows researchers to explore how the pandemic is impacting individuals, families and communities across the UK through our large and representative sample of the UK population."

Professor Michaela Benzeval

Director of Understanding Society

View profile

COVID-19 survey - latest updates

  • Wave 1, Wave 2 and Wave 3 data are now available. 
  • Wave 4 (July) fieldwork is completed.
  • Around the end of September we will re-release COVID-19 Waves 1,2,3 with updated data and weights. Wave 4 will also be released, which includes children's SDQ and there will be a release of 2019 pre-pandemic data from the main survey interviews. 
  • Special Licence datasets with LAD and LSOA identifiers are now available. 
  • Youth paper self-completion survey is currently in the field. Data release TBC.
  • There will be no data collection during August. Wave 5 will go in to the field in September, followed by Wave 6 in November.

How the survey works

From April 2020 participants from our main Understanding Society sample have been asked to complete a short web-survey. This survey covers the changing impact of the pandemic on the welfare of UK individuals, families and wider communities. Participants complete one survey a month, which includes core content designed to track changes, alongside variable content adapted each month as the coronavirus situation develops. For participants who do not use the internet, there is a telephone version of the questionnaire in some of the months. 

The COVID-19 survey is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Health Foundation. Fieldwork for the survey is carried out by Ipsos MORI and Kantar.

If you would like to receive updates from Understanding Society on the COVID-19 survey please join our mailing listIf you are a researcher or analyst and have a question about the COVID-19 study you can contact the COVID survey team by email: If you are a participant of the study and have a question please contact the participant liaison team

COVID-19 survey data

Data from the COVID-19 questionnaire will be made available to researchers each month via the UK Data Service. If you have a question about using the COVID-19 dataset please contact our user support team

You can find the Understanding Society COVID-19 dataset,  Study Number 8644 here. 

Special Licence data

Two Special Licence datasets are available: 

Questionnaire content

To date, the COVID-19 questionnaires cover:

  • Coronavirus symptoms and test results
  • Management of long-term health conditions
  • Housing
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Loneliness
  • Employment, training and looking for work
  • Financial situation
  • Partnership changes and 'living apart together'
  • Division of domestic labour
  • Relationships within the household
  • Life satisfaction
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Diet and food security
  • Home schooling
  • Special educational needs (age 12-17)
  • Food and alcohol consumption
  • Exercise and smoking
  • Travel to work
  • Contact with family and friends outside the household
  • Contact with grandchildren
  • Transport use
  • Neighbourhood cohesion
  • Religion
  • Volunteering

Each survey takes around 20 minutes to complete.

The questionnaires can be found here and you can see an over view of the content for the COVID-19 study in the content plan


Dataset documentation

Briefing notes

See how the COVID-19 data can be used with these topic based briefing notes prepared by the Understanding Society team. 

The Economic Effects

Health and Caring

Home schooling

Family relationships

Ethnic differences in effects of COVID-19: household and local context

User Guide

The User Guide contains information about the Study, such as sample and questionnaire design, data collection and data processing, and information about using the dataset for research. 

Video: Using the COVID-19 survey


Latest News


Latest Blog


Contact our User Support Forum if you need help using the data or have a question for the Study team

Support forum