1970 British Cohort Study

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1956 BCS70
  • Dates of Creation
      1970 - [ongoing]
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      Electronic data that ranges from 15-250 MBs dependant upon format and upon which component survey is used.
      Data are available in a number of formats including SPSS, STATA and ASCII tab-delimited. The data can be converted to other formats such as SAS. Documentation is primarily supplied in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.Documentation is primarily supplied in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Scope and Content

The scope of the study has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth, to encompass physical and educational development at the age of five, and physical, educational and social development at the ages of 10 and 16. Subjects from Northern Ireland, who had been included in the birth survey, were dropped from the study in all subsequent sweeps, so further studies in the series cover Great Britain only.

In addition, there have been four sub-sample surveys carried out. The first two, carried out in 1972 and 1973, named the British Births Child Survey, followed up sub-samples of the original cohort at ages 22 months and 42 months. The third sub-sample survey was carried out in 1977 when non-respondents from the 5 year survey were traced and interviewed in an attempt to assess the effect of non-response. In 1991, when the cohort were aged 21 years, a 10% sample survey was carried out which focused on adult literacy and numeracy problems as well as the transition from school to work.

UKDA currently holds data under generic study number 33229 for the birth, 22-month, 42-month, five-year, 10-year, 16-year, 26-year and 1999-2000 follow-up surveys only. The 1999-2000 BCS70 follow-up survey was combined with the latest wave of the NCDS, and is held as a combined dataset under the UK Data Archive study number 4396. It is planned that the timing of future waves of the cohort studies will be integrated, in order to enhance their research potential, enabling comparisons to be made between cohorts born at different times, or between different age groups at the same point in time.

Administrative / Biographical History

The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) is a continuing, multi-disciplinary longitudinal study which began in 1970, when data were collected about the births and families of babies born in the UK between 5th and 11th April, 1970.

The first survey, called the British Births Survey, aimed to look at the social and biological characteristics of the mother in relation to neonatal morbidity, and to compare the results with those of the first National Child Development Study (NCDS), conducted in 1958.

To date there have been five attempts to gather information from the full cohort, in 1975, 1980, 1986, 1996 and 1999-2000, at ages five years, 10 years, 16 years, 26 years and 29-30 years. These studies have been conducted under various titles, by several organisations over time, and the series is now the responsibility of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (formerly the Social Statistics Research Unit, or SSRU).

Access Information

Available to UK Data Archive registered users.

Acquisition Information

Centre for Longitudinal Studies


Sources for the information in this record include the UK Data Archive catalogue records.

Record created by Karen Dennison, UK Data Archive.

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Related Material

Related datasets held at the UK Data Archive are listed in the appropriate UK Data Archive online catalogue records.


References and publications by principal investigators and resulting from secondary analysis are listed in the UK Data Archive online catalogue records.