The BHPS was designed as an annual survey of each adult (16+) member of a nationally representative sample of more than 5,000 households, making a total of approximately 10,000 individual interviews. The same individuals will be re-interviewed in successive waves and, if they split-off from original households, all adult members of their new households will also be interviewed. Children are interviewed once they reach the age of 16; there is also a special survey of 11-15 year old household members from Wave Four. Thus the sample should remain broadly representative of the population of Britain as it changes.
A major development at Wave 9 was the recruitment of two additional samples to the BHPS in Scotland and Wales. The target sample size in each country was 1500 households.
The questionnaire package consists of:
- a. household coversheet
- b. household composition form comprising a complete listing of all household members together with some brief summary data of their gender, date of birth, marital and employment status and their relationship to the household reference person.
- c. short household questionnaire containing questions about the accommodation and tenure and some household level measures of consumption.
- d. individual schedule administered with every adult member of the household (aged 16 or over). The individual questionnaire covers the following topics: neighbourhood; individual demographics; residential mobility; health and caring; current employment and earnings; employment changes over the past year; lifetime childbirth, marital and relationship history (Wave Two for main sample, supplemented for new entrants from Wave Eight onwards); employment status history (Wave Two only); values and opinions; household finances and organization.
- e. self-completion questionnaire including subjective or attitudinal questions particularly vulnerable to the influence of other people's presence during completion, or potentially sensitive questions requiring additional privacy. It also contains attitudinal items and questions on social support.
- f. proxy schedule: The questionnaire is a much shortened version of the individual questionnaire, collecting some demographic, health, and employment details, as well as a summary income measure.
- g. telephone questionnaire, developed from the proxy schedule, for use when all other efforts to achieve a face-to-face interview have failed.
- h. Since Wave 4, the youth questionnaire (aged 11-16 years) has been administered using a Walkman personal cassette tape player and a blank self-completion answer grid, as some of the questions are sensitive.
Measurement Scales - General Health Questionnaire; Activities of Daily Living.
Geographical identifiers in the data include: Local Authority Districts; Counties; Unitary Authority Areas