LONDON: The Economic and Social Research Council (a body funded by the government's Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) has announced a major new household survey to examine the long-term effects of social and economic change on the UK population.

The new Understanding Society study, conducted for the ESRC by the London School of Economics' National Centre for Social Research, will supersede the British Household Panel Survey, run for the past seventeen years by yet another quasi non-governmental organisation, the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

Panel size for the new survey will more than quadruple from 9,000 households to 40,000, with data collected annually from each panel member.

Questions will cover such issues as the persistence of child poverty or disability; factors such as divorce and marriage that influence key life transitions; and the effects of life-experiences on later outcomes.

Other topics investigated will be the environmental impacts of household behaviour, and influences ranging from class, ethnicity and religion to consumption and lifestyles.

Notes ESRC principal policy manager Alison Weir: "The large sample size will give a unique opportunity to explore issues for which other longitudinal surveys are too small to support effective research.

"It will permit analysis of small subgroups, and a large sample size also allows high-resolution analysis of events in time."

The first results of the study are due for publication in 2010 and further information on the project can be found by clicking here.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff