Documentation Overview

Use our Active Documents (see Operations section below) to learn about and explore the open data API.

You will need a user key in order to use the API. If you have not got your API key yet, you can obtain one by signing up for an account. More details are available regarding user keys.

A good starting place would be to look at the Dataset and Data Sets calls in the Wiki.

The JSON Schema show what each of the API calls returns.

Information regarding the available data can be found on the About Page.

The Terms and Conditions Page outlines the responsibilities of the UK Data Service, the Developer and the User.

Finally the Support Page enables you to raise a ticket with the UK Data Service helpdesk, in case of technical difficulties with the open data API.


The European Quality of Life (EQLS) survey is a unique, pan-European survey that examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It looks at a range of issues, such as employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work-life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness, how satisfied they are with their lives, and how they perceive the quality of their societies.

The EQLS data is structured around four main concepts: Dataset; Topic; Keyword; Variable.

  • A ‘Dataset’ is a collection of data, here presented in tabular form. The dataset columns represent different variables (see definition of variable) within the dataset. Each row of the dataset corresponds to a case (or the responses of an individual) to each variable.
  • A ‘Topic’ is a subject which one or more variables in the dataset may cover – e.g. employment, education.
  • A ‘Keyword’ is a term allocated to the dataset and used to describe a topic covered within it (see definition of topic). More than one keyword may describe one topic, e.g. ‘economic activity’, ‘occupational status’ and ‘hours of work’ are all keywords that describe different aspects of the wider topic ‘Employment’.
  • A ‘Variable’ is a concept or condition that can exist in differing amounts or types (e.g. age, employment status). It may represent a question asked of an individual, e.g. how old they are, or whether they have a job. A dataset (see definition of dataset) is composed of a collection of different variables and individual responses or values for them (rows or cases).


What skills would a web developer need to use the API?
The UK Data Service API is similar to APIs, such as the Google, Twitter or Facebook APIs.The responses from our API are all in JSON so a knowledge of Javascript and JSON is required. After that, it’s up to you!

Querying the API is made even easier by using our Active Documents. This allows you to construct calls and directly execute from within your browser and examine the results.

What is the API intended for?
The API is intended to allow web site and app developers to access open data sets that we hold at the UK Data Service.

What do I do now?
Look at the documentation on the Wiki.