The Annual Population Survey is a continuous household survey. The sample is formed from waves 1 and 5 of the Labour Force Survey (in which selected addresses are contacted every 3 months) and from regional sample boosts that are in the sample for 4 waves, spread one year apart. Most people are interviewed in person first, and later by telephone.
The combined data for 2014, 2015 and 2016 contains around 550,000 respondents, divided roughly equally between the 3 years. No respondent is included in more than 1 year's data.
Estimates presented are 3-year averages. The data shows respondents who were counted as not in employment, education or training at the time they were surveyed. It doesn’t measure how long they had this status within the year the survey related to, nor does it track any changes to their status after they were surveyed.
Participants are randomly selected from the Royal Mail small user Postcode address File (PAF). The NHS communal accommodation list is also used and (in the case of remote parts of Scotland) telephone directories. All eligible individuals found at the selected address may be interviewed. Individuals are included in the dataset for this analysis if they respond themselves or if a family member responds on their behalf. The complex survey design has been taken into account when calculating confidence intervals. Observed differences are considered statistically significant when the 95% confidence intervals for 2 groups don’t overlap.
Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.
For example, a survey which contains 25% females and 75% males will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know is around 50% male and 50% female.
Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.
Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.
The combined data used here is weighted to UK population totals, using population estimates and projections from the Office for National Statistics. Weighting is done at local authority level, meaning the sample for each local authority has roughly the same age and gender characteristics as that area's general population.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
In data covering all ethnic groups together, estimates based on sample sizes of less than 15 have been suppressed.
‘Suppression’ means these figures have not been included in the data, to protect confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.
Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point.