Accessing ELSA data

Researchers can download ELSA data from all waves, including wave 0 (HSE), from the UK Data Service.

If you are in the UK and your organisation is part of the UK Access Management Federation (UKAMF), you can access UKDS via your institution’s account. Find out if your institution is a member.

If you are not in the UK, or your organisation is not on the list of federation members, you can request a username.

 

Main ELSA dataset


Data for waves 1-9 (up to 2018/2019) are available to download from the UK Data Service. For Waves 1–7, the UK Data Service contains a single ELSA data file containing the majority of variables relating to the ELSA interviewer visit. For Waves 8 and 9, the data related to the main interview is archived under a number of separate files, reflecting the relative sensitivity or disclosure risk of the variables:

  • A dataset available for holders of the UKDS End User Licence (EUL) contains the majority of the interview data, with sensitive or disclosive variables removed
  • A Primary Special Licence (SL) dataset, available for users under the UKDS Special
  • Licence conditions, contains all the variables in the EUL dataset, as well as additional more sensitive/disclosive variable
  • Further separate SL datasets containing:
  • Sexual self-completion variables
  • State pension age variables (year and age in years reached state pension age)
  • Geographic variables (LA, IMD quintiles, population density quintiles, urban/rural)
  • A Primary Special Access (SA) dataset, available using the UKDS Secure Access gateway, contains all the variables in the Primary SL dataset and additional highly disclosive variables.
  • Further separate SA datasets containing:
  • State pension age variables (exact date and age reached state pension age)
  • Geographic variables (lower level Census geographic variables)
Data for ELSA respondents collected during HSE (referred to as “Wave 0” data) and ELSA Waves 1-9 can be used for longitudinal analysis. All these data are available from the UK Data Service.




Other ELSA datasets available at the UKDS


In addition to the main ELSA datasets for Waves 0–9, there are a number of additional ELSA data files available (under EUL) via the UKDS:

  • Nurse visit datasets (Waves 2, 4, 6, 8 and 9) – see ELSA nurse visit user guide for more details. Please take note of the weighting used for waves 8 and 9.
  • Life History interview dataset (Wave 3)
  • ‘End of Life’ interview datasets for Waves 2, 3, 4 and 6
  • Pension grid: data and documentation of data originating in the main interview pensions loop is available in a separate ‘pensions grid’ file for all waves (by IFS)
  • IFS (non-financial) derived variables and documentation produced for all waves by IFS
  • Financial Derived Variables and documentation produced for all waves (by IFS)
  • Pension wealth derived variables for Waves 1–5 (by IFS)
  • Mortgage dataset (Wave 2) and Mortgage grid dataset (Wave 3)
  • Ryff self-completion dataset (Wave 2)
  • ELSA Index File (Waves 0–5) including key status variables for each wave such as fieldwork issue status and outcome codes, mortality status.
  • Harmonised ELSA dataset and documentation ( Gateway to Global Aging Data, produced by the Program on Global Aging, Health & Policy, University of Southern California, with funding from the National Institute on Aging R01 AG030153).




Geographic variables


If you are interested in accessing geography data, these datasets are available for all waves for request via UKDS under Special Licence and Secure Access agreements.




Genetics data


If you are interested in using ELSA genetic data only and NOT any of the ELSA phenotypes, you can download the data directly from the European Genome/Phenome Archive (EGA) website.

​If you would like imputed genetic data, you can request this from ELSA@ucl.ac.uk. Read more about the imputed genetic data in ELSA.​

You can also download information on the construction of polygenic risk scores (PGSs) for a number of behavioural, emotional and health-related phenotypes in ELSA.

The process for applying to use genetic data in combination with phenotypic variables, is currently being updated. In the meantime, if you would like to access these data please contact ELSA@ucl.ac.uk.




Access to non-archived variables


Any other variables not included in the archived datasets may be requested via the NatCen Data Release Panel. Please contact the ELSA Data Manager at elsadata@natcen.ac.uk for more details.




Dementia sub study (HCAP)


HCAP data can be downloaded from UKDS here: https://beta.ukdataservice.ac.uk/datacatalogue/studies/study?id=8502

You can find the accompanying documentation on the study documentation page (under HCAP)




Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) Data


HES data is currently only available to the ELSA team, we do not currently have an onward sharing agreement with NHS Digital. We hope to have an onward sharing agreement in place in the future, please check this page for any updates.