Support #887

Treatment of student sample members

Added by Lewis Anderson almost 3 years ago. Updated almost 2 years ago.

Data documentation
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I have some questions about how the study treats sample members who are university students. Is there any guide to this issue? Apologies if so - I haven't been able to find anything relevant.

In particular: if a household member moves away from home and into student accommodation for (most of) the academic year, do they continue to be treated as a household member (as if they had continued to live at home)? Or is this treated as them forming a new household? If so - would this be a household of 1, or are those they live with surveyed as TSMs? The substantive concern is that I am interested in the measurement of students' incomes and so how they are treated affects the meaning of the household income variables.

Any help much appreciated.
Lewis Anderson


Updated by Stephanie Auty almost 3 years ago

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Many thanks for your enquiry. The Understanding Society team is looking into it and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Best wishes,
Stephanie Auty - Understanding Society User Support Office


Updated by Gundi Knies almost 3 years ago

  • Category changed from Youth to Data documentation
  • Assignee changed from Gundi Knies to Lewis Anderson
  • % Done changed from 10 to 90

Dear Lewis,
the general following rules and definitions apply to students: If the young person is an OSM and moves to a new address such as a shared student house or a Hall of Residence, the student is a split-off from the issued (parental) household and so a household will be generated for them. If they are in institutional accommodation (e.g., Halls of Residence), then they are the only person interviewed at the new address. If they are in a shared house with others and this is rented privately, then the other household members will be eligible for interview as TSMs (usually, i.e. when they are considered a household, sharing bills and meals with the OSM). So even if the student only lives there during term-time, and goes home for the holiday, they should still be treated as a split-off with their own household.

In the first wave (i.e. w1 for most samples and w6 for the iemb sample), we only sampled residential addresses. So, as part of the enumeration in that wave, we asked about anyone connected to the household but living in institutional accommodation. Students in institutional addresses were then OSMs, but marked as absent. Absent household members may nominate others in the household to provide a proxy interview on their behalf. At the next wave, if they were still in the same institutional accommodation, they were still treated as absent. However, if they moved out of that accommodation, even if it was to another institution, they were counted as a split-off from the issued household and set up as their own household.

There is no special treatment of students (present or absent) in terms of how we compute the household incomes. Students normally are not part of their parent’s benefit unit (unless they are counted as a dependent child) when they live in the parental household but all incomes in the same household are summed up to form total household income.

Does this answer your question?

On behalf of the Understanding Society data support team.


Updated by Lewis Anderson almost 3 years ago

Dear Gundi,

Many thanks, this is very helpful.

To check I have understood correctly: so individuals living away at university are treated as (part of) a separate household from their parents', except that in wave 1 if they are living in halls (counted as a type of institutional accommodation) they are treated as part of their original household, but absent; and the subset of that group who also remain at the same halls in wave 2 would again be treated as within their original household, but absent; whereas those in waves 2 and later who live in halls (except those living in the same halls they did in wave 1) would be regarded as in a separate household. Those living in shared student residential housing are always treated as a part of a household distinct from their original / parental household.

Considering which variables I would use to identify the cases where an individual is living in halls and marked as part of their original household but absent from it, am I right to think that the relevant & available variables are: a_absflag, a_absreason, and b_resiaway? Or are there others that would be informative? Is there any way to identify those living in the same halls at waves 1 and 2 other than by considering them to be those who are a_absreason = college/university AND b_resiaway = temporarily away, and making the assumption that their reason for being away at wave 2 is the same as wave 1?

Again, many thanks for your help.


Updated by Alita Nandi almost 3 years ago

  • Status changed from In Progress to Resolved

Updated by Stephanie Auty over 2 years ago

  • % Done changed from 90 to 100

Updated by Lydia Palumbo almost 2 years ago


sorry for jumping into this discussion.
I just would like to know if the following of university students
is the same also in BHPS, as this is not clear from the website.
Thank you and best,

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