Dale A, Creeser R, Dodgeon B, Gleave S, Filakti H. An Introduction to the OPCS Longitudinal Study. Environment and Planning A 1993; 25 (10): 1387-1398

The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) Longitudinal Study (LS) is introduced, and its value for migration and area-based studies is highlighted. The LS is a 1% sample of records drawn from the 1971, 1981, and 1991 Censuses for England and Wales, to which are linked information on certain vital events (for example, births, deaths, and cancer registration) for the same individuals. The basis for selection is having one of four birthdates in the year. Although confidentiality constraints mean that individual-level data from the LS cannot be released, OPCS welcome analysis of the data, and arrangements for access and user support are described in the paper. Because most of the data sources that go to make up the LS contain some area coding, it is of considerable importance in urban and regional research and in migration studies. Those aspects of the LS of most relevance to this research area are reviewed, and the different geographical bases available are highlighted. Also, examples of the kinds of research that can be supported by the LS are provided.