National Child Development Study

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The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a continuing, multi-disciplinary longitudinal study which follows the lives of about 17,000 people born in Great Britain in a certain week in 1958.


The NCDS has been conducted in nine different sweeps so far.

After the initial survey in 1958, there have been attempts to trace all members of this birth generational cohort in 1965, 1969, 1974, 1981, 1991, 1999–2000, 2004, 2008 and 2014 to get information concerning their physical, educational and social development.[1] During the period 2002-2004, genetic information on participants was also obtained to examine the genetic effects on common traits and diseases.[2]

The origins of the NCDS can be found in the Perinatal Mortality Survey (PMS) which was then sponsored by the National Birthday Trust Fund and set up to collect information about the social and obstetric factors associated with stillbirth and death in early infancy.[3] Examples of other topics which have since been included are medical care, health, home environment, educational progress, parental involvement, family relationships, economic activity, income, training and housing.[4]

Following the initial birth survey, the four subsequent sweeps were carried out by the National Children's Bureau. In 1985, the NCDS was moved to the Social Statistics Research Unit (SSRU), which is now known as the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS).[5]

Methodology and scope[edit]

In the latest 2013-2014 sweep data collection involved a sequential mixed mode approach [6] whereby cohort members were invited to complete a web survey and those not responding were invited to participate via telephone. More than 9,100 cohort members took part in total, with sixty six per cent doing so on-line. [7]

Survey Results[edit]

The results of the NCDS have been used in over 1,700 publications, some of which can be found here. The report "Now we are 50" with the key findings of the NCDS has been published by the CLS on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the NCDS in 2008. It is available to download here.

Re-using the data[edit]

The data and additional study information are available on the United Kingdom Data Service (UKDS) website . Users will have to register in order to access the download section.


  1. ^ United Kingdom Data Service, NCDS webpages, retrieved June 6, 2015
  2. ^ 2002-2004 Biomedical follow-up, retrieved January 6th, 2011
  3. ^ UKDS, NCDS catalogue record entry, retrieved September 21, 2009
  4. ^ UKDS, NCDS webpages
  5. ^ UKDS, NCDS catalogue record entry
  6. ^ Mixed-Mode Surveys and the Internet, retrieved June 15, 2015
  7. ^ UKDS, NCDS catalogue record entry

External links[edit]