Household Composition


The number of people living in the household has been recorded at each wave of the study, from when the study member was a child (birth to 15 years) to when they were an adult (26 to 68-70 years). The categorisation of the ages of the household occupants varies between collection waves.

In their childhood, information was recorded on the number of parents and their children living in the house (including their sex and ages) and the number of other people living in the house (including relationship, sex and age). In 1972, 1982 and 1999 a full household grid with relationships (and in 1982 employment status) was recorded, but in 1999 the information was grouped into the total number in the household, the number of children under 16 and the number aged 16 and over.
In 2006-10 and 2014-16, the study members were asked, how many people lived in their household, including themselves.

A measure of crowding has been created by dividing the number of people living in the household by the number of rooms in the house (for most waves from birth to 26 years). Two further derived measures exist for childhood which illustrate when, if at all, the child grew up in crowded conditions.


Obtaining the standard household composition variables

  • You can obtain a list of the standard topic variables to use in an NSHD data sharing request by selecting the link at the end of this page.
  • The XML version of the link can be sent to the LHA as part of a data sharing request.
  • Simply use your browser's Save As facility to save the list of variables to a file on your computer.
  • You can then email the XML version to us in support of your application, or when you fill in the data access application form and it asks which variables you need, mention the 'household composition standard basket' along with any others.


HTML version of the standard variables to view

Download the XML for the household composition standard basket