NCDS Age 16 Sweep

Sweep details

Dates 1974
Age 16
Achieved sample 14,654 (cohort members)
Respondents Cohort members, parents, teachers, medical examination
Survey mode Face to face
Data access

Main dataset available via the UK Data Service [SN 5565]. Visit the UK Data Service website to access the data.


The age 16 sweep took place in 1974 and aimed to continue measuring the educational, social and physical development of the cohort through adolescence.

Around 300 new participants, who had been born overseas, joined the study after moving to Great Britain.

The age 16 sweep was the last time that parents were interviewed. Health visitors visited the cohort members’ homes and conducted interviews with parents (mothers, in most cases). Information was collected about household composition, housing, parental occupation and income, cohort member health, parental health, schooling and parents’ aspirations for their child’s future.

Cohort members completed a paper questionnaire about their attitudes to school, aspirations for the future in terms of jobs, education and family life, school absences, self-ratings in school subjects, spare-time work, income and pocket money, leisure activities, family relationships, smoking and drinking. Cohort members also did a reading test and a maths test.

As at 7 and 11, the age 16 sweep also included a medical examination where height, weight, vision, vision, hearing, speech, and motor coordination were measured and any other medical issues noted.

Information was collected from cohort members’ schools about type of school, class sizes, approaches to discipline, attendance, behaviour, ability and the examinations cohort members would likely be entered for.

Special features at age 16

Parental income

A measure of parental income – made up of three components, ‘father’s net pay’, ‘mother’s net pay’ and ‘net income from all other sources’ – was included for the first time.

Researchers can use this information, in combination with the detailed measures of cohort member income collected over time, to study the extent to which family income in childhood is correlated to adult income. Equivalent information collected in the other cohort studies allows for the study of how income mobility has changed between generations.

Smoking and drinking

Study members were asked about smoking and drinking at 16. These important health behaviours have been tracked ever since making NCDS ideal for the study of the long-term impact of different lifetime patterns of smoking and drinking.


  • User guides
  • Questionnaires
  • Technical reports
  • Data notes
  • Additional
User guides

Handling missing data in the CLS cohort studies – User Guide

This user guide aims to describe and illustrate a straightforward approach to missing data handling, while detailing some more general considerations around missing data along the way.

Date published: 03/06/2024
PDF: 1000,62 KB


NCDS Age 16 Guide to the Dataset

Date published: 06/05/1981
PDF: 6,34 MB


NCDS 2006 Re-deposit User Guide

User guide to accompany the redeposit of data up to age 46

Date published: 01/11/2006
PDF: 87,19 KB


NCDS Age 7-16 Measures of Ability

This document draws together information available on the key measures of ability that were gathered from members of the National Child Development Study (NCDS) during the three surveys carried out during the school years of the birth cohort.

Date published: 01/12/2012
PDF: 355,53 KB


NCDS revised region variables

Date published: 01/03/2012
PDF: 523,56 KB


Partnership Histories Guide (1974-2013)

Date published: 01/11/2017
PDF: 374,82 KB


Activity Histories Guide (1974-2013)

Date published: 01/10/2016
PDF: 594,01 KB


NCDS Age 16 Annotated Questionnaire Documentation

Annotated version of the age 16 questionnaire for NCDS

Date published: 01/05/1974
PDF: 2,78 MB

Technical reports

No material of this type is available.

Data notes

No material of this type is available.


Deriving highest qualification in NCDS and BCS70

This Data Note explains the derivation of variables on Highest Educational Qualification obtained by cohort members in the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70).

Date published: 01/01/2011
PDF: 514,11 KB


NCDS Birth-Age 50 Target and Achieved Samples

Table of target and actual sweep samples for NCDS up to age 50

Date published: 01/05/2008
PDF: 21,84 KB


NCDS Age 16 Coding Frame

Seperate Coding frame for age 16 sweep of NCDS

Date published: 01/05/1974
PDF: 7,32 MB


NCDS Ethical Review and Consent

Review of the ethical practices throughout NCDS

Date published: 02/06/2014
PDF: 1,76 MB


NCDS Age 16 Coding Frame for Public Examination Results

Coding Frame for exam results collected from schools in 1978

Date published: 01/05/1978
PDF: 943,6 KB

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Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

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London WC1H 0AL


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