The Centre for Longitudinal Studies is home to four national longitudinal cohort studies, which follow tens of thousands of people from birth and across the whole of their lives:
Each of our four studies follows large, nationally representative groups of people born in a given year. Our oldest study charts the lives of a group of Baby Boomers born in the late 1950s, while our youngest keeps up with a group born at the turn of the new century.
By collecting information from the same people over time, as they live their lives, our studies are powerful resources for answering important research questions.
The CLS cohorts provide unique evidence on how people develop from infancy, throughout childhood and adult life. They explain the roots of many sources of inequality, showing how early (and earlier-) life circumstances are important for later life outcomes; how advantage and disadvantage are transmitted across generations; and how people manage key life transitions. In combination they are a powerful tool for charting and understanding how changes across generations are unfolding, and why.
For the past 60 years, findings from our studies have played a part in shaping the world we live in today, providing evidence for many of the choices we face as individuals, and as a society, and informing many areas of government policy. Today, our studies are casting light on some of the biggest challenges we face. Obesity, mental health, and poverty are just some of the issues our studies are helping to tackle.