Data by theme

The UK Data Service has web pages to aid researchers looking specifically for data on particular themes:

  • Ageingtheme


    Ageing is the accumulation of a wide range of changes experienced by a person over time, including physical, psychological, and social factors. In particular, given the rise in life expectancy, there has been increasing focus on the social factors of ageing e.g. longer working hours, pensions, issues related to heath and quality of life. Equally, social inequalities caused by increasing longevity also raise a complex set of challenges for policy makers. The UK Data Service holds a variety of data collections related to ageing, from key government and longitudinal surveys to international indicators and qualitative historical interviews.

  • COVID-19


    The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives dramatically and has sparked many questions about the health, social and economic effects on our nations. Data in the UK Data Service collection can be used to begin to understand these questions and to give context for the current inequalities being experienced due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Data have been collected and are made available on topics such as finance, employment, education, ageing, food, crime, the environment, attitudes and much more. In this rapidly changing landscape, the data will continue to adapt. It is expected that many studies will begin to include questions specific to COVID-19, and when ready much of this data will be made available through the UK Data Service.

  • law


    'Crime' encompasses a wide range of issues that lie within the remit of several academic disciplines, including sociology, psychology, law and economics. As a theme, crime may cover various topics, ranging from contemporary concerns over youth gangs and anti-social behaviour, through ‘white collar’ and corporate crime, including crimes against the environment, to serious violence. Crime-related data held by the UK Data Service include not only national crime surveys (which themselves cover diverse issues such as identity theft and alcohol-related disorder in the night-time economy) but also illegal drug use, workers in the criminal justice system, football hooliganism and community policing in Africa.

  • economics


    Economics is a social science concerned with the factors that determine the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. As a theme, economics covers various topics including economic activity, public spending, fiscal policy, taxation, trade and productivity. The UK Data Service holds a variety of data collections related to economics, from key government and longitudinal surveys to international indicators.

  • educationSm


    Education is a key factor in shaping an individual’s life chances. It not only determines later employment chances, but also living and housing conditions, nutrition and health, participation in social life, friends and partner options and, finally, the educational opportunities and achievements of our own children. Education is commonly regarded as the key to remaining competitive in a constantly changing, globalised world, as it is the key to meet the demands of a ‘knowledge-based economy’. The UK Data Service holds a wide and rich range of data collections suitable to shed light on all sorts of education-related research questions, from key longitudinal studies to international microdata, government data and qualitative data collections.

  • environmentSm

    Environment and energy

    Climate change and environmental sustainability are fundamental policy and research priorities worldwide. The long term effects of human activities on intricate planetary systems have become public issues of much concern and debate. Policy makers are expected to balance pressures on land and natural resources with the preservation of ecosystems. So, what shapes the mutual constitution of nature and society and how can these complex relationships be measured? An understanding of the interactions between society and the natural environment at all levels, local, regional, national and trans-national, is critical for the development of sustainable societies, and the UK Data Service provides access to data ranging from household energy use to global databanks on greenhouse gas emissions, conservation and the production and consumption of oil, gas and electricity worldwide.

  • ethnicity


    Ethnicity describes a collective identity and is based on the assumption that a collectivity has its roots in common ancestry, heritage, religion, culture, nationality, language and a territory. Ethnicity constitutes an important element of the social world, and for many, a central element of personal and social identity that shapes relationships and that cannot be ignored. Collecting data on ethnicity is challenging because of the different processes involved in shaping ethnic identities, and the subjective, multi-faceted and fluid nature of ethnic identification. Data on ethnicity in large scale-government surveys has often included one or more of the following categories: ethnic identity, country of birth, nationality, parents' country of birth, national/geographical origin, race and religion. In the UK a range of surveys collect information on ethnicity and such information is often also routinely collected for a range of administrative purposes. At both local and national levels, this information is vital in building a picture of the circumstances of ethnic minority populations and their relationships to the ethnic majority population over time in order to ensure effective development of policy such as addressing ethnic inequalities.

  • Food

    Food and food security

    The food system cuts across many academic disciplines and covers a wide range of research topics such as: the impact of extreme weather events on food systems; the need of a growing population for sustainable agriculture; food security and better access to food; medical challenges of diseases caused by under/over nutrition (heart disease and diabetes); consumer culture and attitudes toward food; and a healthy diet and food safety. The UK Data Service hosts a large number of food and nutrition related survey datasets including the National Food Survey, Public attitudes to Campylobacter, the Living Costs and Food Survey, Diet and Nutrition Surveys and the Food and You Survey. In addition the Service has datasets produced by the World Bank which include aggregated data from 1960 onwards on food production index, undernourishment, hunger and malnutrition.

  • health

    Health and health behaviour

    Health and health behaviour covers a wide range of topics and cuts across many academic disciplines. Data have been collected and are made available via the UK Data Service on topics as varied as the experience of illness, child development, access to care, lifestyle behaviour, subjective physical and mental well-being, diet and nutrition, immunisation programmes and attitudes towards health service provision. Data on health and health behaviour can cover not only a person’s status, behaviour, attitudes and expectations but also the provision of health care, including the mechanics of policy making, government expenditure and service coverage.

  • Item Image

    Housing and the local environment

    Housing conditions and the quality of the local environment play a large role in quality of life. Health and well-being can be affected by poor housing conditions such as damp or overcrowding and also by factors related to the local area, for example levels of deprivation, access to services, contact with neighbours or the fear of crime. Good quality homes and local surroundings are important factors in ensuring a safe and healthy environment. Many of the data sources held by the UK Data Service contain information on these topics.

  • ICT icon

    Information and communication

    Information and communication technologies are reshaping the world, transforming the way in which we communicate, govern, work, manage crises, do business and spend our free time. These changes are, in turn, driving new policy development to address the societal impacts of digital technologies. The UK Data Service holds data on a wide range of ICT topics, such as mobile communication, telework, social-media, radio, television, internet use, mass media, infrastructure, security and trust. This key research area helps us to understand how the fast evolving world of digital technologies impacts people's lives and communities, changes the way we interact, affects our cultural experiences and could shape our future society and economy.

  • Item Image

    Labour market

    Employment is a fundamental feature of social life. At the macro level, labour costs, employment rates and industrial and occupational patterns have considerable impact on the character and prosperity of nations. At the micro level, individual workers sell labour in markets according to their personal capital and circumstances. In turn, their relationship to the labour market affects their movements, time use, resources available to them, and their well-being. The UK Data Service holds a full range of employment and labour market data from key government and longitudinal surveys to international indicators and qualitative historical interviews.

  • politics


    Politics in the broadest sense can be defined as the activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general rules under which they live. In particular, politics refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance, specifically in a state. Politics can be defined in a variety of different ways: the exercise of power, the exercise of authority, the making of collective decisions and the allocation of resources. The UK Data Service holds a variety of data collections related to politics, from key government and longitudinal surveys to international indicators and qualitative historical interviews. These cover topics such as political opinions, civic participation, elections, political parties, and many more.

  • Item Image

    Poverty and social exclusion

    The eradication of 'poverty in all its forms everywhere' is the first of the Sustainable Development Goals, the intergovernmental set of aspiration goals agreed upon by 193 countries in 2015 at the United Nations. Extreme poverty is characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and shelter. Relative poverty occurs in all countries and is defined in terms of minimum acceptable standards of living within the society in which a particular person lives. Relative poverty can lead to social exclusion when people do not have sufficient material resources to participate in social, economic, political and cultural life and their relationships with others. The UK Data Service hosts a number of key collections on the complexities of poverty, living standards and social exclusion ranging from individual life courses to large scale surveys and country-level indicators.

Back to top  


UK Data Service Newsletter

UK Data Service Logo

Subscribe for consolidated quarterly updates from the UK Data Service