MCS Age 22 Sweep

Sweep details

Sweep status In development. CLS is seeking input to help determine the content of the Age 22 Sweep
Dates 2022-3
Age 22
Respondents Cohort members
Data access Plans are to make the data available via the UK Data Service in 2025

We are planning the Age 22 Sweep as a face-to-face data collection with cohort members. It will include questions on role transitions in employment, education, partnerships, fertility and residence. We are considering interviewing resident partners of cohort members and collecting information on offspring. Consents to data linkage may also be included. The Age 22 Sweep is core-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Consultation timetable
Online consultation 25 February to 26 March 2021
Consultative conference May 2021
Consultation on first draft questionnaire Expected late summer 2021

Study background

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a large, nationally representative birth cohort study following the lives of over 19,000 cohort members since their infancy. The study has now run for seven sweeps, at ages 9 months, 3, 5, 7, 11, 14 and 17, providing an incredibly rich picture of lives of this generation. Further detail can be found here. It has also collected data through three online COVID-19 surveys at ages 19 and 20.

The aim of the Age 22 Sweep is to provide data for research and policy on the lives of this generation at an important milestone, with the cohort on the cusp of maturation to adulthood.

Life at age 22

The early 20s are an exceptionally dynamic period of life, traditionally characterised by five role transitions – in employment, education, partnerships, fertility and residence. The additional strain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be severe, striking at a time when the cohort are navigating critical transitions in education and the labour market.

Scientific consultation

A summary of content for Sweeps 1-7 is available here. The next section sets out what’s proposed to be covered in the Age 22 Sweep.

We ran a consultation between February – March 2021 to help determine the content of the MCS Age 22 Sweep, scheduled to start in late 2022. We asked anyone interested in the cohort – which included academics, policymakers and representatives of the third sector – to put forward their suggestions for content and questions.

The suggestions will help us produce a high quality survey that meets the needs of researchers across a range of disciplines and that has the potential to influence policy.

If you have any questions about the consultation process, please contact us –

In May 2021 we are planning to hold an online consultative conference to discuss the proposals we received. We will shortly be sharing details about the event on this page.

Scientific themes

  • Education, learning and investment in skills, including academic and vocational learning and apprenticeships, educational experiences including interruptions to learning, and qualifications.
  • Employment transitions, economic circumstances, the nature of work, including occupation, income, labour market transitions; asset accumulation such as housing.
  • Mental health and wellbeing, including psychological distress and anxiety, mental wellbeing, life satisfaction, loneliness, coping mechanisms.
  • Physical health and health behaviours, including weight, substance use, sleep, diet and exercise.
  • Skill and development, including cognitive processes such as impulse control, emotion perception, short-term memory, inequity aversion, and psychosocial skills such as personality, persistence, motivation, leadership, attitudes to risk, and delayed gratification.
  • Relationships, family and intra-household dynamics, including material and other types of support to/from parents and other family members, and its role in social mobility processes; social roles and interactions (both online and offline); partnership formation and fertility.
  • Identity and attitudes, including political attitudes, behaviours and attitudes towards the environment.

Other proposed data collection

We are also considering the following:

  • Interviewing resident partners of cohort members: by age 22, we expect around one in five cohort members to have formed partnerships and to be residing with them. This provides a first opportunity to study partnership formation, including how choice of partner and their characteristics relate to previous life experiences and circumstances.
  • Collecting information on offspring: we expect between 5% and 10% of the cohort to have a baby when surveyed. This provides an opportunity for capturing some key prospective information on experiences and behaviours in the prenatal period and/or early infanthood via self-report.
Contact us

Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL