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508 BHPS identifying households or individuals across waves 03/08/2016 04:04 PM Actions


I am looking to analyse a number of variables such as income, wealth and consumption across waves and to see how they change. From what I understand I cannot link households across waves. But to link individuals across waves I have to use the person identifier (PID). I am specifically looking at the data files whhresp and windresp from waves J-R. Within these I can find the variable for household identification number but I cannot find the variable for PID. Please could you help identify where I can find PID so that I can analyse this data for individuals across waves.


Last notes

Although issue 509 is about understanding society (ukhls) - the file structures for the two surveys are almost identical so the data management issues are the same.

193 Commonwealth Games Questions 11/10/2015 02:18 PM Actions

HI There

I was just enquiring whether there was any questions on the Commonwealth Games 2002, or around any other major sporting events in the BHPS. I am aware of the questions asked in Understanding society and Taking Part on the Olympics but am more interested in commonwealth Game questions. Are you aware of any other surveys which may have asked questions around the commonwealth games 2002? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks take care


Last notes

Unfortunately not

BHPS documentation


1308 Cross-sectional weights 0 values 10/13/2021 12:03 PM Actions

We are doing crossectional analysis combining all waves from USoc and the BHPS and include all household members (and all regions of the UK whenever become available). We are basically taking information from different waves, for example, wealth from the waves with wealth modules and labour market outcomes/earnings for when people are in their mid 20s. Currently we are using the crossectional weights from the last wave we observe people so we have constant weights even though we use information from various waves for each unique observation (so depending on which wave this are (a-f)xewght (waves 1-6 BHPS), (g-h)xewghte (waves 7-8 BHPS), (i-j)xewtsw1 (waves 9-10 BHPS), (k-..)xewtuk1 (waves 11 onwarfdd BHPS), a_psnenus_xw (wave 1 Usoc), (b-h)_psnenub_xw (wave 2 onwards of USoc)). We are then adjusting them to account for selection of our sample based on observable characteristics.
I have two specific questions:
1) Are the weights we are using as our base weight (that is, we are using these weights to create our own adjusted weights) the right ones for this kind of analysis? and
2) Why is it the case that some of these weights are 0? I understand why longitudinal weights would be 0, however cannot quite understand why any of the cross-sectional ones would be. It is especially confusing that specific individuals have non-zero cross-sectional weights for some waves and not for others.
Any help answering the above 2 questions would be much appreciated.
Many thanks and best,

Last notes


The solution that we have discussed would be correct in a simple situation (without pooling) where for example you use only people from waves 1 to 9, and everyone in your analysis have responded at wave 9. Because you want to pool information from across the waves the situation becomes slightly more complex. I have two questions to you:
1. Does your definition of your population depend on being observed in a later wave (and responded to the questionnaire for example)? In other words is it enough to be a child of a wealth parent to be in your analysis? Or do you have to also be employed, and maybe with a particular income (and thus having responded in a later wave) - I am asking here really about theoretical definition rather than how it is used in your analysis? It is important for weighting, because in the former situation you can start with an issue weight, in the latter you may need a weight that corrects for longitudinal nonresponse in a particular instrument.
2. Depending on the structure of your data it is likely you will need a separate probit model for each wave combination, or at least for each last wave of observation. So if you have a set of people last observed in wave 7 you will need a separate model for these, then for those observed in wave 8 etc. etc.

I appreciate this isn't straightforward and I am also not 100% clear about your data set up. It may be easier to talk to me via videochat - if you are interested please email to set up an appointment. Please refer to the issue num 1308.

Thank you,

247 Data on Political Attitudes and Household debt 11/10/2015 12:23 PM Actions

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’m a PhD student in political economy at MIT and study the economic roots of political behavior. I found the BHPS a great source for my resource, but have a particular questions that I haven’t been able to answer so far. I am looking for a longitudinal dataset that has both questions on political attitudes towards government policies, e.g. social redistribution, spending on health care, etc., and information on households’ economic situation, in particular its indebtedness. As far as I can see, the Understanding Society Panel does not have questions on social redistribution. I know that the Wealth and Asset Survey and to a limited extend the BHS Derived Current and Annual Net Household Income Variables get at the latter part, but they do not include the political attitude variables. Hence my question if there is a subset or part of the BHS (or any other survey) that contains both of those dimensions, or is there a way to match households or individuals from the BHS panel to one of those other surveys?

Thanks so much for your help.



Last notes

Dear Andreas,

Unfortunately neither the BHPS nor Understanding Society have carried the political questions that you are interested in. We have questions about political interest, political efficacy and political support, and the BHPS in the past has carried attitudinal questions about views of government, but not in the depth that you need.

Have you tried looking at the British Election Study? This has a longitudinal element (but only for a couple of waves after each election) and it is likely to have the questions about redistribution etc that you are interested in.

There is some information about it here:

Documentation for the "British Election Study Six-Wave Panel Survey, 2005-2009" is available:

The British Election Study is not managed by us at ISER and it is not possible to merge the Election Study into the BHPS because the samples are different.

I hope that helps.

781 Data on couple finances 07/03/2017 09:45 AM Actions

Hi- apologies for bothering you, but I am currently researching couple finances and have found the variables wealthassetsanddebt_ip3.svacsj (relating to savings) and wealth assetsanddebt_ip3.nvestsj (relating to investments) on this page: Firstly, I just wanted to check that these are the only questions on the survey that dealt with jointly/ solely held assets within couples? Secondly, I looked at the results for e.g. the first variable ( although the same is also applicable for the results for the second variable, which can be found at and was wondering, what are the ‘proxy’ results (apologies if that is an ignorant question)? If I were to wish to calculate each possible arrangement (i.e. sole, joint and both) as a percentage of all of the valid responses, not including where the question was inapplicable, would I just include sole, joint, and sole and joint, or do the ‘proxies’ need to be factored in as well? Thirdly, is this the most up-to-date data that you have on sole/joint savings and investments (am I right in thinking that it dates back to 2013)? Thanks so much

Last notes

Dear Charlotte,

Just checking whether there is anything more we can help you with on this? We are happy to discuss it further with you if you would like to.

Many thanks, Victoria.

465 Immediate - BHPS data access help 01/19/2016 12:42 PM Actions

Dear Understanding Society User Support,

I have registered for the UK Data Service and acquired BHPS data for my dissertation. However, I have found it difficult to find data on household’s wealth, financial and housing assets and consumption. Looking at the summary table I noticed that waves 5,10 and 15 include information on wealth, assets and debt.

I would be very grateful if you would be able to help me find and access information on the following variables or others of a similar nature from at least 3 waves or more:

Household makeup / structure / type
Household income
Household wealth
Household financial assets
Household housing/property assets

Last notes

All household level questions are asked in the household questionnaire. You can search for these variables by looking at the useful online documentation:

Click on the MENU button on the top right corner and you will see different options of searching/finding these variables:

"Questionnaires and Survey Documents" - access the questionnaires, secifically look at the household questionnaires.
"Thesaurus" & "Index Terms" - search by key words and themes
"Record Types" - this will show you the list of all data files. If you click on any file you will find a list of all the variables within that file and a short description of that variable. Look at the files "whhresp" - ahhresp, bhhresp, chhresp etc. These include the variables corresponding to the questions in the household questionnaire. Also take a look at "windall" - it is an individual level file which includes some basic demographic information on every household member of responding households (including non-responding adults and children).

Best wishes,
On behalf of the team.

1291 Measurement error in savings data 08/15/2022 04:12 PM Actions


I am currently working with the savings data in USoc (save, saved, svamt etc.) and the savdocs variable shows that very few (less than 10%) actually have shown to the interviewer any documents on their savings. I was wondering if there is any systematic information on how the distributions given by the variables is compared to real data on savings or more focused wealth-assets surveys (such as WAS). And, secondly if anything has been done to deal with it.


Last notes

Dear Mihai,

As this question was only asked of those who have savings accounts, in Wave 8 13% of respondents providing a valid response checked relevant documents. As the variables you mention are not derived variables, they have not been edited and are as reported by the respondent.

For previous research using our data, you could search the website for relevant key words, or for discussion of analysis you could join our jiscmail list by emailing

Best wishes,

479 Urgent - data accesss support 01/19/2016 12:42 PM Actions

I am looking to download data in a format that I can ideally use in excel. If not, I am willing to download any software which will help me access the data. I am confused by the number of different data files available to download and am unsure which is best for me.

After downloading the British Household Panel Survey: Waves 1-18, 1991-2009 data file in tab format I have opened it in excel. However, it is in a format which seems impossible for me to understand.

I would be very grateful if you could provide exact instructions on what file I should download to access the variables I require as follows:

From at least 3 waves or more:

Household makeup / structure / type
Household income
Household wealth
Household financial assets
Household housing/property assets

Kind regards,


Last notes

What data management or statistical softwares do you use? If you use Stata or SPSS then you could download the data in those formats. If you use SAS you could download the data in one of these formats and then transform it into SAS readable formats using StatTransfer.

Household level variables are in the files whhresp, w is a for wave 1, b for wave 2 etc. Check the online documentation to see if these specific variables are in whhresp files and in which waves. Some variables are available in all waves while others only in some waves. (See response to issue #465 on how to search for this information)

Have you looked at the online training course material for BHPS? It may be a good place to start if you are not familiar with BHPS.

Hope this helps,
On behalf of the team

1382 Where to find questionnaire modules? 10/13/2021 11:25 AM Actions

I am interested in using the Wealth, assets and debt module in my research. However I cannot find this data on the UK data service website. I have downloaded the "Understanding Society: Waves 1-9, 2009-2018 and Harmonised BHPS: Waves 1-18, 1991-2009" dataset, but I cannot find this data in there, nor do I know which other dataset to look in. Would be grateful for any help in locating this data. I am interested in the latest data available.

Last notes


Have you read our User Guide? Please take a look at that.

The easiest way to find out the variables you are looking for is using our variable search facility:
You can search via the Index Terms tab, or key word search by writing words in the search box. The search results will show a list of variables matching the word you typed and next to the variable name you will see which datafile it is in.

You can also search the questionnaires which are pdf files, so you can search across the whole document.

If you need any help with data management - how to put the files together, you can try our online Moodle training course.

Best wishes,
On behalf of Understanding Society User Support Forum.

868 wealthassetsanddebt 12/18/2017 02:37 PM Actions

Dear staff,

Do you have any information on when the next time data on assets and debt will be collected (the "wealthassetsanddebt" section)?

I would be grateful if you could provide any information on the timing of future collection of these variables.

Last notes

Dear Jia,

Please refer to the long term content plan, which you can download here:

This shows that the module you are interested in is part of wave 8, which is currently in field and this data will be released towards the end of next year.

You can also view the questionnaire by clicking the Wave 8 tab here:

Best wishes,
Stephanie Auty - Understanding Society User Support Officer


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