Social Studies and Biomedical Data

Details of available data in the social studies resource are outlined by the UK Data Service or can be found in the Online Data Dictionary

There are over 16,000 NCDS variables in the nine full sweeps (plus the exams data), with biomedical data added in 2002-2004.   The online data dictionary is a searchable database containing a ‘record’ for every variable in all the main sweeps since birth. It is structured to reflect the data collection by subject within questionnaire / instrument and is also searchable using free text search.  The exact question wording corresponding to each variable is shown, and you can get frequency counts for each value.

Governance and Access

Access to this data is supervised by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), providing controlled access via the UK Data Service. All applications are reported to the CLS Strategic Advisory Board.
Data requests that are not straightforward will be referred by CLS to the METADAC to discuss and adjudicate.

  • Particularly sensitive or disclosive data – such as fine level geography, and biomedical survey data (biodata) – are only available under a special licence. ‘Special licence’ datasets require additional oversight, and advice on obtaining a special licence is available from CLS.
  • Data can be accessed by registering with the UK Data Service, University of Essex. Registration involves the Athens Authentication System. If users are attached to an academic institution in the UK, they will already have an Athens user account and their ID and password for that can be used to register.
  • Registered users are able to download data upon agreement to the access conditions specified in an end user licence and upon registration of usage details.
  • Data can be linked between different sweeps – see the ‘linked data’ section below if you are interested in combining different types of 1958 data.

Active guidance on the availability and use of these data is provided by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) at