Chart 1: Selected Major National Surveys in Britain

Survey, frequency. Sample size, etc. Main topics/uses covered
Census of Population decennially since 1801. 20 million householders. Self-completed. Usual residence/visitors. Household composition, housing, occupation, workplace, car ownership, migration.
National Food Survey. Annually since 1940. 8,000 households Quantities and value of food purchased.
Family Expenditure Survey. Annually since 1953-54 12,000 households Expenditure patterns. Household composition. Income - from all sources.
National Travel Survey. Iregularly since 1965. 26,000 individuals Travel by all means of transport including walking and cycling.
Quality of life. 1971, 1973, and 1976. Not since then. 600 to 900 individuals. Funded by SSRC. Identification of meanings of quality of life.
General Household Survey. Annually since 1971. 20,000 individuals in 10,000 households. Topics have included education, employment, fertility, health, housing, income, migration.
Labour Force Survey Started 1973. Biennially until 1983. 60,000 households quarterly from 1992. Proposed monthly. Employment, unemployment, economic activity, housing, nationality, ethnic group.
British Crime Survey. 1981, 1985, 1988, and 1992. 16,000 individuals. Crimes whether reported or not. Attitudes to crime and the police.
British Social Attitudes Survey. Annually since 1983. 3,000 individuals. Conducted by SCPR. Funded by Sainsbury.. Attitudes on enterprise, the family, health, the unions, welfare, etc.,etc. International comparisons.
'Opinion polls'. Irregular, but frequent when possibility of an election. Typically 700 to 1500. Financed by newspapers. Voting intentions. Attitudes on any topic.
Dietary and Nutrition Survey of British Adults. 1990. 2,000 individuals Food and drink consumption. Blood pressure and physiological measures. Height, weight, etc.
Health Survey in England. Annually from 1991 16,000 individuals Cardiovasculatory disease and associated risk factors. Blood sample.
National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. 1990-91. 19,000 interviews. Heterosexual and homosexual interactions and attitudes.
Family Resources Survey. Annually since 1993 26,000 households Household income, and some costs. For 'modelling and costing' changes in benefits system.