Health and Living Conditions

Resources for researching health and living conditions may include data from subscription databases, publicly available data portals or archived academic projects. Some suggestions are:

  • Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts
    This database is an indexing and abstracting tool covering health and social services as well as education, economics and politics. It abstracts and indexes over 500 journals, from more than 16 countries and is updated monthly.
  • The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70)
    A longitudinal survey collecting data about the births and families of approximately eleven thousand babies born in the United Kingdom in one particular week in 1970.  Originally known as the Child Health and Education Study (CHES). There have been seven full data collection exercises in order to monitor the cohort members' health, education, social and economic circumstances. These took place when respondents were aged 5, in 1975 (held under SN 2699), aged 10, in 1980 (SN 3723), aged 16, in 1986 (SN 3535), aged 26, in 1996 (SN 3833), aged 30, 1999-2000 (SN 5558), and aged 34, in 2004-2005 (SN 5585). With each successive wave, the scope of BCS70 has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth, to encompass physical and educational development at the age of 5, physical, educational and social development at the ages of 10 and 16, and physical, educational, social and economic development at 26 years and beyond. The collection includes data that is available under a variety of access conditions so some segments may require special permission.
  • Cochrane Library
    The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases covering medicine and health related areas. At its core is the collection of Cochrane Reviews, a database of systematic reviews which summarise and interpret the results of medical research.
  • Demographic Health Surveys (DHS)
    The DHS Program has collected, analysed and disseminated data on population, health, HIV and nutrition through more than 300 surveys in over 90 countries.
    Datasets are available for free after a simple registration process.
  • Eurostat New Cronos
    One of the main aims of this European survey is the collection of statistics on health, employment, consumption and living conditions. Key public health indicators used include disabilities, health and safety, health care, illness, smoking, alcohol consumption and causes of death.
  • Global Health Observatory
    A World Health Organisation (WHO) project to provide data and analyses on global health priorities.
  • Health Survey for England
    The annual HSE asks a number of core questions, but each year focuses on a different disease or condition or population group.
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
    A major archive of social science research data that holds information predominately relating to the United States - it also includes some additional collections. Data is available on a range of topics including health care services and urban studies.
  • Mass Observation Online
    Access to material from the pioneering ethnographic project ‘Mass Observation’. It includes the entire File Report sequence 1937-1972, access to all of the Day Surveys, Directives and Diaries, 1937-1967 and Mass Observation Publications 1937-1965. A searchable topic collection covers issues such as family planning, health, sexual behaviour and smoking habits. The resource also includes interactive maps, bibliographic resources and essays on various aspects of Mass Observation.
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales
    Official webpage of the UK government for census and other government surveys. Visitors are able to search statistics by area, region or place. Browsing by themes such as the health care system, health of the population and social care is also possible.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    A major source for global monthly, quarterly and annual data and statistics on international development and trade. Issues to do with health and living conditions are covered in depth. Most of these surveys are made available through the UK Data Service but further analysis and commentary is provided by the OECD iLibrary with direct links to health statistics, social and welfare statistics along with indicators on health care use, health resources and other areas.
  • Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)
    A multidisciplinary and cross-national panel database of microdata on health, socio-economic status and social and family networks from 20 European countries (+Israel) aged 50 or older. The SHARE data can be downloaded from the SHARE Research Data Center, or GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences under certain conditions.
  • UK Biobank
    A national and international health resource open to all bona fide health researchers. UK Biobank is following the health and well-being of 500,000 volunteer participants and provides health information, which does not identify them, to approved researchers in the UK and overseas, from academia and industry.
  • UK Data Service
    An archive of social science research that, in collaboration with the UK Data Archive, makes data available from many key governmental surveys and academic research projects. Content may be downloaded or analysed online on health, health behaviour, housing and living conditions.
  • United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS)
    A multi-topic household survey (also known as Understanding Society) with a strong emphasis on health, family and social ties, work and quality of life. The study is an annual survey of each adult member of a nationally representative sample.

Further resources on this theme may be found by using SOLO, OxLIP+ and the relevant library LibGuides.

Recommendations for additions to this list are always welcome. Please email the Bodleian Data Library with suggestions.

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