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MDLS Survey Report 2024.pdf (1.57 MB)

A Minimum Digital Living Standard for households with children: Survey findings report

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posted on 2024-03-26, 17:38 authored by Simeon Yates, Zi Ye, Alex Singleton, Katherine HillKatherine Hill, Chloe BlackwellChloe Blackwell, Abigail DavisAbigail Davis, Matt PadleyMatt Padley, Emma Stone, Gianfranco Polizzi, Jeanette D’Arcy, Rebecca Harris, Paul Sheppard, Elinor Carmi, Supriya Garikipati, Patricia Barrera

This report details the results from a UK national survey undertaken as part of the “Minimum Digital Living Standard” (MDLS) multi-method study to assess:

• What is the minimum basket of digital goods, services and skills that households need to live and participate in the digital world?

The MDLS project addresses this question through a novel household-based assessment of digital needs. The project, which is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and Nominet, has been developed by an interdisciplinary team combining social, geographic, and economic researchers, and utilises a range of interlinked methods:

• It uses the proven and innovative Minimum Income Standard (MIS) methodology 1 to undertake a proof-of-concept study to develop (through a series of focus groups with members of the public) a definition of MDLS which sets out what the standard should encompass, and establish a “minimum basket of digital goods, services and skills” that households with dependent age children need to meet this standard. Once this initial proof-of-concept project has been undertaken, there is potential to extend the methodology to look beyond households with dependent children and include the needs of other household types in the future. Thiswork is reported on in our prior reports2.

• In-depth group consultations with stakeholders have explored the relevance of the standard concerning key dimensions of lived experience and intersectionality, such as disability, ethnicity, rurality, and poverty.

• Ongoing engagement with government, regional, public, and third-sector organisations to explore using MDLS as a tool to inform ongoing policy development. This includes exploring the relevance of MDLS in the Welsh context on behalf of the Welsh Government3.

This report covers the survey stage of the MDLS research. It reports on the development of the survey-based MDLS measure. The report provides initial findings on the demographic and social factors that underpin meeting - or not - the MDLS as defined by the earlier deliberative MIS methodology.


Nuffield Foundation



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy


University of Liverpool


  • VoR (Version of Record)

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Reproduction of this report by photocopying or electronic means for non-commercial purposes is permitted. Otherwise, no part of this report may be reproduced, adapted, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the University of Liverpool.

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Katherine Hill. Deposit date: 25 March 2024

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