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

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 Wave 8, 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)
A detailed outline of variables available within each respective Wave 8 dataset is available in the Wave 8 Questionnaire & Data Documentation. Data for ELSA respondents collected during HSE (referred to as “Wave 0” data) and ELSA Waves 1-8 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 0–8, there are a number of additional ELSA data files available (under EUL) via the UKDS:

  • 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. Please see the data archive section of the Wave 8 Questionnaire and Data Documentation file for more details on which variables are available.

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 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.

If you would like to use genetic data in combination with some phenotypic variables, you will need to apply via METADAC (Managing Ethico-social, Technical and Administrative issues in Data Access). Contact for more details.

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 for more details.

Dementia sub study (HCAP)

HCAP data can be downloaded from UKDS here:

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


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