The first findings of Understanding Society have been published, covering a wide range of areas of people's lives and experiences. The survey, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and run by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER). will follow 40,000 UK households. It is a major social science investment in longitudinal studies with potentially huge long-term implications for the understanding of the UK in the early 21st century.
These first findings include a wealth of information across a wide range of topics, from family life, employment during the recession to young people's attitudes to climate change. We learn how bullying often begins at home and how certain social groups are excluded from some types of social participation; who gets the best night's sleep and how where you live can affect you life chances.
Understanding Society builds on the achievement of the highly successful British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) which is heavily used by government departments and by researchers within and outside the UK. It has been accessed by more than 2,000 users and generates more than 150 publications per year.
The ambitions of Understanding Society go well beyond what has been achieved with the BHPS to support a much wider range of research. It is an important addition to the UK's rich portfolio of longitudinal studies and continues the UK’s contribution to an international network of household panel studies.