Annual Population Survey (APS)

The Annual Population Survey datasets were updated on Fri 30 April 2010 with new figures for the Oct 2008 - Sep 2009 survey period. This update does not include qualifications data which only appears in calendar year periods, so the most recent qualifications data will still be for the Jan to Dec 2008 survey period.

Country of birth estimates are not included in this initial release; they will be released on Wed 12 May 2010 in line with the ONS coherent reporting policy for migration statistics (details below).

About the APS

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a combined survey of households in Great Britain. Its purpose is to provide information on key social and socioeconomic variables between the 10-yearly censuses, with particular emphasis on providing information relating to sub-regional (local authority) areas. Due to sample size limitations, APS data is not available below local authority level i.e. data is not available for wards and super output areas.

The first publication of APS data covered the survey period January to December 2004. Subsequently, APS data has been published on a quarterly basis, but with each publication covering a year's data. For example, data relating to the survey period April 2004 to March 2005 was published in September 2005, whereas data relating to July 2004 to June 2005 was published in December 2005.

Sample Size

When the APS was introduced in 2004 it comprised the annual Local Area Labour Force Survey (LALFS) supplemented by an extra boost, the APS(B), designed to obtain a sample of 500 economically active adults in each local authority district. As a cost saving measure, the APS(B) was scaled back in mid-2005 and was withdrawn from January 2006.

APS estimates for the April 2005 to March 2006 period onwards revert to the sample used for the previous annual LALFS. The last period which contains APS(B) cases is that covering January to December 2005, as this is the last period for which a complete year's boost is available.

Sample sizes by local authority are available in a spreadsheet from the link below.

APS Sample Size by local authority (xls, 113Kb)

Country of Birth

New measures to improve the way in which population and migration statistics are reported across government were announced on 26 February 2008. This is the first step towards a new coherent reporting programme for demographic statistics, a key recommendation of the 2006 Interdepartmental Task Force on Migration Statistics.

The initiative aims to ensure that related demographic data from different government departments are presented in a coordinated manner on a limited number of dates throughout the year. In line with this initiative, APS country of birth tables Oct 2008 - Sep 2009 will be released with other migration statistics on Wed 12 May 2010.

Qualification Data

Qualifications data are only be available from the APS for calendar year periods. This is because the questions in the survey relating to qualifications change. From Jan 2006, these changes occur at the start of January each year, so the calendar year will be the only period not be affected by them.

Currently the periods Jan to Dec 2005, Jan to Dec 2006, Jan to Dec 2007 and Jan to Dec 2008 include qualifications, although these figures will be added to the calendar year 2004 in the future. Qualifications figures will be shown as missing in other periods.

Further Information

The ONS Labour Market Guide has a section about the Annual Population Survey:

ONS Labour Market Guide: Annual Population Survey (link)

The LFS user guide is available from the link below and Volume 6 covers local area data and covers the APS. The methodology for the APS is the same as for the former local area annual LFS.

LFS User Guide (link)