UK Data Service series record for:

Millennium Cohort Study

Series abstract

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), which began in 2000, is conducted by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS). It aims to chart the conditions of social, economic and health advantages and disadvantages facing children born at the start of the 21st century The study has been tracking the 'Millennium children' through their early childhood years and plans to follow them into adulthood. It also provides a basis for comparing patterns of development with the preceding cohort studies (the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the 1970 Birth Cohort Study (BCS70).

Data access

GN 33384  |  Millennium Cohort Study: Special Licence Access

SNStudy DescriptionExplore OnlineDownload / Order  
5724 Millennium Cohort Study, 2001-2003: Hospital of Birth: Special Licence Access -
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Getting started

How can I find out about the datasets – variables, population, sample size etc.?


What format are the data in and where can I download them from?


How do I get started with analysing survey data?



What is the main objective of the MCS?

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is the UK's newest longitudinal birth cohort study and follows the lives of a sample of babies born between 1 September 2000 and 31 August 2001 in England and Wales, and between 22 November 2000 and 11 January 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The main objectives of the survey are:

  • to provide a basis for comparing patterns of development with the preceding cohorts (the National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study)
  • to collect information on previously neglected topics, such as fathers' involvement in children's care and development
  • to focus on parents as the most immediate elements of the children's 'background'
  • to emphasize intergenerational links including those back to the parents' own childhood
  • to investigate the wider social ecology of the family
  • to provide control cases for the national evaluation of 'Sure Start' (a government programme intended to alleviate child poverty and social exclusion)
  • to provide samples of adequate size to analyse and compare the smaller countries of the United Kingdom

How often are people interviewed for the survey and who is interviewed?

At present, interviews take place roughly every two years. For the first survey (fieldwork 2001-2003) interviews were carried out both with mothers and (where resident) fathers or father figures of nearly 19,000 babies at nine months of age. The first follow-up survey was conducted between late 2003 and mid 2005. The fieldwork for MCS3 was completed in January 2007 and MCS4 is planned for when the children are aged 7.

What formats are the data available in?

The data are available in SPSS, Stata, SAS and ASCII tab-delimited formats.

Where can I obtain statistics and tables from the MCS?

Details of publications are given in the MCS resources section of the Guide to the Millennium Cohort Study.

What is the most detailed regional level I can analyse the data at?

For information on the availability of geographical variables for each of the major ESDS Longitudinal studies, see Geography variables.

Does the MCS use standard coding schemes?

Subsets and adaptations of the following measures have been used in the MCS:

  • Denver Developmental Screening Test
  • Carey Infant Temperament Scale
  • Condon Maternal Attachment Questionnaire
  • Golombok Rust Inventory of Marital State
  • Malaise Inventory
  • Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory (RSE)
  • British Ability Scales
  • Bracken Basic Concept Scale

In addition, parents' employment and socio-economic classification were measured using SOC2000 and NS-SEC.

Before I order, how do I find out what questions/variables are included?

Variable lists and PDF user guides (including questionnaires) are freely available via Millennium Cohort Study.

What is the file and variable naming convention?

Files are named according to the sweep of the data and the date that file was created. For example, 'mcs2_data_march_2006' is the file for the second sweep, created in March 2006.

Two longitudinal files are common to both sweeps: 'mcs_longitudinal_family_level_information' and 'mcs_longitudinal_household_grid'.

For the majority of variables, the first two letters identify the sweep and questionnaire to which the variable relates. Most variables prefixed with A refer to sweep 1 and variables prefixed with B refer to sweep 2. Generally, the second letter in the variable name relates to the questionnaire. For example: AM*** signifies that the variable is sweep 1, main questionnaire. BP*** would relate to sweep 2, partner questionnaire. *X***, *H*** and *A*** refer to data collected from proxy responses, household questions and administrative questions respectively.

The exceptions to this protocol are generally derived variables.

When are future waves/sweeps likely to be made available?

See the CLS web page: MCS5 2012.

Related studies:

Ethnicity Coding for the Millennium Cohort Study, First Survey, 2001-2003 (SN 6073)

Related case studies:

Does premature birth affect a child's long-term health or development?
What predicts our level of well-being?
The effect of infertility and its treatment on child health and development
Search for variables and questions from the Millennium Cohort Study.

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