Wave 2 of COVID-19 survey data from five national longitudinal cohort studies now available

News, Data release
11 December 2020

Researchers can now access new information about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of almost 26,000 cohort study participants.

Captured between September and October 2020, data from Wave 2 of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies will help researchers understand how people’s lives have changed since the first wave of the survey in May. The information collected from participants, aged between 19 and 74, provides important insights into the economic, health and social consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, as the country emerged from lockdown during the summer.

Participants completed an online survey which closely mirrored the topics covered in the first survey. Additional questions were included to reflect the evolving crisis, covering children’s schooling in the summer and autumn term, access to financial help from family and friends, health care and life events. Around 11,000 new participants completed the survey in Wave 2, in addition to the 15,000 participants who took part in Wave 1 as well as Wave 2.

The survey was sent to participants in all four national longitudinal cohort studies run by the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) as well as participants in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, run by the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing (LHA), also based at UCL. The five studies included are:

These studies have been following large, representative cohorts since birth, gathering information about different aspects of participants’ lives, at different stages of their lives. Researchers will be able to analyse these new Wave 2 COVID-19 survey data in conjunction with data from Wave 1 of the survey as well as the longitudinal data collected over the lifetime of each study.

Professor Alissa Goodman said: “Since we last contacted our study participants for the first wave of our COVID-19 survey in May, the pandemic has continued to have a profound impact on all of our lives. With most of society emerging from the first lockdown in July, almost 26,000 participants from across five studies were able to give us new insights into how the coronavirus outbreak had affected their livelihoods, their families and relationships and their physical and mental health during the summer and autumn months.

“Using the new information alongside other study data, collected across more than 70 years, researchers will be able to examine how prior life experiences shape resilience or vulnerability to the effects of the pandemic.”

Researchers at CLS have shared initial findings from Wave 1 of the survey in a series of briefing notes.

Find out more about the data

For more information about the design and content of the survey, the response, data collected and weights, see the CLS website COVID-19 survey page. The questionnaire and user guide are both available to download.

Acceshttps://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/UCL-Cohorts-COVID-19-Survey-user-guide.pdfs the data

The online survey data from the four CLS studies taking part, namely the MCS, Next Steps, BCS70 and NCDS, have been de-identified and are available for researchers to download under End User Licence from the UK Data Service from today:

To download the data (SN: 8658), visit the UK Data Service website.

The data from both Wave 1 and Wave 2 are also available from each of the main pages for the four studies on the UK Data Service website:

Millennium Cohort Study

Next Steps

1970 British Cohort Study

National Child Development Study

Weights have been provided with this COVID-19 dataset to take account of non-response to the survey, in order to help researchers produce representative results.

See the user guide to the data for more information.

Wave 1 data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development is available from the UK Data Service under Special Licence Access. Wave 2 data will be available from the UK Data Service shortly. Researchers can submit an application to the study to access the data.


  1. The COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies was developed and led by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), based at the UCL Institute of Education, in collaboration with the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL (MRC LHA at UCL).
  2. The online survey was issued to participants in five cohort studies based at UCL, including all four of CLS’s cohort studies:
  • National Child Development Study (following people born across Great Britain in March 1958, since birth and up to age 62),
  • 1970 British Cohort Study (following people born across Great Britain in April 1970 since birth and up to age 50),
  • Next Steps (following people born in 1989-90 who were in Year 9 in school in England in 2002-3, and who have been surveyed since age 13/14 and up to age 30),
  • Millennium Cohort Study (following people born in 2000-02 in the UK since 9 months old, and up to age 20. The survey was issued to cohort members and their parents), and
  • MRC National Survey of Health and Development (following people born across Great Britain in March 1946, since birth up to age 74).
  1. The survey was designed to cover the same core questions in each study, with minor variations across studies where necessary to preserve longitudinal continuity.
  2. Survey participants were asked to download the ZOE COVID-19 symptoms tracker app which was developed by the King’s College London Twins UK team. It is planned that the information collected in the app will be linked to the data collected in the surveys. The linked data will greatly enrich the information available to researchers for understanding the lifetime risk factors for COVID-19 and its symptoms, and in the future it will enable the long term health and other outcomes of those experiencing COVID-19 and its symptoms to be understood.
  3. A further survey is scheduled to be carried out in January 2021. The majority of the content will comprise questions included in the first (May 2020) and second (September 2020) surveys.
  4. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The Medical Research Council provides core funding for the MRC LHA at UCL.

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