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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 eight 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 and 2008 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 scopeEdit

In the latest 2008-2009 sweep a combination of a 55 minute "core" face-to-face interview and a paper questionnaire was used with a sample of 2,997 cases in total.[6]

Survey ResultsEdit

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 dataEdit

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



  1. ESDS Longitudinal, NCDS webpages, retrieved September 21, 2009
  2. 2002-2004 Biomedical follow-up, retrieved January 6th, 2011
  3. ESDS, NCDS catalogue record entry, retrieved September 21, 2009
  4. ESDS Longitudinal, NCDS webpages
  5. ESDS, NCDS catalogue record entry
  6. ESDS, NCDS catalogue record entry

External linksEdit

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