Now we are 50 report published

9 July 2008

CLS launches a new report to mark 50 years of the National Child Development Study.

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies yesterday launched a new report, published to mark 50 years of the National Child Development Study. Now we are 50: Key findings from the National Child Development Study chronicles the diverse experiences of Britons born in 1958 and considers their future prospects as they enter their sixth decade.

The publication provides a summary of 50 years of social change in Britain and explains how the study’s many findings have helped to shape decision-making in policy areas such as education, employment, housing and health.

Members of the 1958 cohort have been surveyed from birth, through their childhood and adolescence, and into adult life. The intention is to track their physical, educational, social and economic progress 'from the cradle to the grave' and compare their experiences and development with those of older and younger cohorts (notably those born in 1946 and 1970).

‘Now we are 50’ reveals what has been learnt about the cohort members' family circumstances, employment, income, housing, health, skills and qualifications, and views and expectations. These data have provided a unique opportunity for social and medical researchers to study the long-term consequences of early childhood experience and the factors that reinforce positive and negative developments in people's lives. Now, as cohort members turn 50, this report explains why an already very diverse group of people will become even more diverse as they get older.

“The NCDS is a remarkable, Janus-faced study that is looking forward and back,” Dr Jane Elliott, Executive Director of the CLS, told the launch event in London. “The data it has generated have already been used in over 1,000 research studies but it is clearly going to be hugely valuable in the future too. The new survey of the cohort, which begins next month, will collect benchmark data that will enable us to measure the effects of the ageing process.”

Now we are 50: Key findings from the National Child Development Study, edited by Jane Elliott and Romesh Vaitilingam, is available to read here. If you would prefer to receive a hard copy of the report, please email l.hardy@ioe.ac.uk.