UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Millennium Cohort Study: Geographical Identifiers, Sixth Survey, 2011 Census Boundaries: Secure Access

Title details

SN: 8232
Title: Millennium Cohort Study: Geographical Identifiers, Sixth Survey, 2011 Census Boundaries: Secure Access
Alternative title: MCS6
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-8232-1
Series: Millennium Cohort Study, 2001- : Secure Access
Depositor: University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Principal investigator(s): University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Data collector(s): Ipsos MORI
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Office for National Statistics
Department for Education and Skills
Department for Work and Pensions
Department of Health
Welsh Assembly Government
Scottish Executive
Northern Ireland Executive


The citation for this study is:

University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies. (2017). Millennium Cohort Study: Geographical Identifiers, Sixth Survey, 2011 Census Boundaries: Secure Access. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 8232,

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Subject Categories

Child development and child rearing - Social stratification and groupings
Community and urban studies - Society and culture
Family life and marriage - Social stratification and groupings


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The MCS is a large-scale, multi-purpose longitudinal dataset providing information about babies born at the beginning of the 21st century, their progress through life, and the families who are bringing them up, for the four countries of the United Kingdom. The original objectives of the first MCS survey, as laid down in the proposal to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in March 2000, were:
  • to chart the initial conditions of social, economic and health advantages and disadvantages facing children born at the start of the 21st century, capturing information that the research community of the future will require
  • to provide a basis for comparing patterns of development with the preceding cohorts (the National Child Development Study, held at the UK Data Archive under GN 33004, and the 1970 Birth Cohort Study, held under GN 33229)
  • 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', charting their experience as mothers and fathers of newborn babies in the year 2000, recording how they (and any other children in the family) adapted to the newcomer, and what their aspirations for her/his future may be
  • to emphasise intergenerational links including those back to the parents' own childhood
  • to investigate the wider social ecology of the family, including social networks, civic engagement and community facilities and services, splicing in geo-coded data when available
Additional objectives subsequently included for MCS were:
  • 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, and include disadvantaged areas of England
The first sweep (MCS1) interviewed both mothers and (where resident) fathers (or father-figures) of infants included in the sample when the babies were nine months old, and the second sweep (MCS2) was carried out with the same respondents when the children were three years of age. The third sweep (MCS3) was conducted in 2006, when the children were aged five years old, the fourth sweep (MCS4) in 2008, when they were seven years old, the fifth sweep (MCS5) in 2012-2013, when they were eleven years old, and the sixth sweep (MCS6) in 2015, when they were fourteen years old.

End User Licence versions of MCS studies:
The End User Licence (EUL) versions of MCS1, MCS2, MCS3, MCS4, MCS5 and MCS6 are held under UK Data Archive SNs 4683, 5350, 5795, 6411, 7464 and 8156 respectively.

Sub-sample studies:
Some studies based on sub-samples of MCS have also been conducted, including a study of MCS respondent mothers who had received assisted fertility treatment, conducted in 2003 (see EUL SN 5559). Also, birth registration and maternity hospital episodes for the MCS respondents are held as a separate dataset (see EUL SN 5614).

Users should note that the weighting section in the 'Guide to the Datasets' document recommends analysis in Stata, as SPSS is not currently able to weight the data using the survey design factors. The depositor is working on a solution for SPSS, but this is not yet available. A Stata version of the dataset is available for access by Secure Lab members, alongside the SPSS and tab-delimited versions.

MCS web pages:
Further information about the MCS can be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies web pages.

How to access genetic and/or bio-medical sample data from a range of longitudinal surveys:
A useful overview of the governance routes for applying for genetic and bio-medical sample data, which are not available through the UK Data Service, can be found at Governance of data and sample access on the METADAC (Managing Ethico-social, Technical and Administrative issues in Data Access) website.

Secure Access datasets:
Secure Access versions of the MCS have more restrictive access conditions than versions available under the standard End User Licence or Special Licence (see 'Access' section below).

Secure Access versions of the MCS include:
  • detailed geographical identifier files which are grouped by sweep held under SN 7758 (MCS1), SN 7759 (MCS2), SN 7760 (MCS3), SN 7761 (MCS4), SN 7762 (MCS5 2001 Census Boundaries), SN 7763 (MCS5 2011 Census Boundaries), SN 8231 (MCS6 2001 Census Boundaries) and SN 8232 (MCS6 2011 Census Boundaries). These files replace previously available files grouped by geography SN 7049 (Ward level), SN 7050 (Lower Super Output Area level), and SN 7051 (Output Area level)
  • linked education administrative datasets for Key Stage 1 held under SN 6862 (England), 7414 (Scotland) and SN 7415 (Wales)
  • linked education administrative dataset for Key Stage 2 for England held under SN 7712 (England))
  • linked Ofsted datasets for MCS3, MCS4 and MCS5 held under SN 8226 and for the MCS4 Teacher Survey held under SN 8227
The linked education administrative datasets held under SNs 6862, 7414, 7415 and 7712 may be ordered alongside the MCS detailed geographical identifier files deposited under SNs 7758, 7759, 7760, 7761, 7762 and 7763 only if sufficient justification is provided in the application. The linked education administrative datasets are not available alongside the Hospital of Birth: Special Licence Access dataset under SN 5724. Users are also only allowed one MCS5 Geographical Identifiers Census Boundaries study, either SN 7762 (2001 Census Boundaries) or SN 7763 (2011 Census Boundaries); the same applies for the MCS6 Geographical Identifiers Census Boundaries studies, users are only allowed either SN 8231 (2001 Census Boundaries) or SN 8232 (2011 Census Boundaries).

Researchers applying for access to the Secure Access MCS datasets should indicate on their ESRC Accredited Researcher application form the EUL dataset(s) that they also wish to access (selected from the MCS list of datasets web page).

Main Topics:
The MCS Geographical Identifiers, Sixth Survey, 2011 Census Boundaries: Secure Access study includes the following geographical variables:
  • Country
  • Government Office Region
  • Ward 1998
  • Census Statistic Ward
  • Output Area 2011
  • Lower Super Output Area 2011
  • Middle Super Output Area 2011
  • Local Authority District/Unitary Authority 2015
  • Westminster Parliamentary Constituency 2015
  • Coverage, universe, methodology

    Dates of fieldwork: MCS6: January 2015 - April 2016
    Country: United Kingdom
    Spatial units: Countries
    Electoral Wards/Divisions (UK)
    Government Office Regions
    Wards (Census Area Statistics)
    Output Areas
    Super Output Areas (Lower Layer)
    Super Output Areas (Middle Layer)
    Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies
    Observation units: Individuals
    Kind of data: Numeric data
    Individual (micro) level
    Universe: National
    All live births in the United Kingdom over 12 months from 1 September 2000 in England and Wales, and for 59 weeks from 22 November 2000 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
    Time dimensions: Longitudinal/panel/cohort
    Sampling procedures: No sampling (total universe)
    Number of units: 11,726 cases
    Method of data collection: Compilation or synthesis of existing material
    Weighting: For details of weighting for main sample, see MCS documentation.
    Data sources: The following data sources have been used to compile this dataset:
  • ONS Postcode Directory;
  • Ordnance Survey Code-Point with Polygons;
  • Ordnance Survey Boundary-Line.
  • Thesaurus search on keywords

    Administrative and access information

    Date of release:
    First edition: 16 August 2017
    Copyright: Copyright Centre for Longitudinal Studies
    Access conditions: Registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor will be informed about usage. Controlled data requirements and conditions also apply. Further information is available from Access to the Secure Lab. In addition, the Service is required to request explicit permission from the data owner prior to providing the researcher with access to the data.

    Please note:
    Since these data are more sensitive and/or pose a higher risk of disclosure than data made available under the standard End User Licence or under a Special Licence, they are not available for download but may be accessed through the Secure Access. Access requires accreditation as an ESRC Accredited Researcher, completion of face-to-face training, and agreement to the Secure Access User Agreement and the Licence Compliance Policy. This is to ensure that the guarantee of confidentiality given to survey respondents is protected. Applications are screened by the UK Data Archive and the individual or institution having ownership of the data (or their designated authority), and access is only granted to those researchers requiring data for statistical research purposes and who can justify their need for the data. Users who obtain access to these data are required to read and follow the Microdata Handling and Security: Guide to Good Practice.

    Availability: UK Data Service
    Contact: Get in touch


    Title File Name Size (KB)
    UK Data Archive Data Dictionary 8232_ukda_data_dictionary.pdf 443
    MCS6: Guide to Geographic Identifiers, 2017 mcs_geographical_identifiers_2017.pdf 325
    Study information and citation UKDA_Study_8232_Information.htm 7
    READ File read8232.htm 10


    View publications... Hide publications...

    By principal investigator(s):
    Publications based on the MCS can be found on the Publications page of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies web pages.

    Resulting from secondary analysis:
    Waldfogel, J. (2004) Social mobility, life chances and the early years, CASEpaper 88, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics.

    McKay, S. (2004) 'Charting change in the devolved administrations: assessing the evidence base', Benefits, 12, pp.183-191.

    Rowlingson, K. and McKay, S. (2005) 'Lone motherhood and socio-economic disadvantage: insights from quantitative and qualitative evidence', Sociological Review, 53(1), pp. 30-49.

    Kiernan, K. (2005) Non-residential fatherhood and child involvement: evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study, CASEpaper 100, STICERD, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics.

    Kiernan, K. and Pickett, K. (2006) 'Marital status disparities in maternal smoking during pregnancy, breastfeeding and maternal depression', Social Science and Medicine, 63, pp.335-346.

    Kiernan, K.E. and Huerta, M.C. (2008) 'Economic deprivation, maternal depression, parenting and children's cognitive and emotional development in early childhood' British Journal of Sociology, December, 59(4), pp.781-806.

    Kiernan, K.E. and Mensah, F.K. (2009) 'Poverty, maternal depression, family status and children's cognitive and behavioural development in early childhood: a longitudinal study', Journal of Social Policy, 38(4) pp.569-588.

    Pollet, T.V., Nelissen, M. and Nettle, D. (2009) 'Lineage based differences in grandparental investment: evidence from a large British cohort study', Journal of Biosocial Science, 41, pp.353-379.

    Mensah, F.K and Kiernan, K.E. (2010) 'Gender differences in educational attainment: influences of the family environment', British Journal of Educational Research, 36(2), pp.239-260.

    Emerson, E., Graham, H., McCulloch, A., Blacher, J., Hatton, C., and Llewellyn, G. (2009) 'The social context of parenting three year old children with developmental delay in the UK', Child: Health, Care, Development, 35(1), pp.63-70.

    Emerson, E., and Einfeld, S. (2010) 'Emotional and behavioural difficulties in young children with and without developmental delay: a bi-national perspective' Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 51, pp.583-93.

    Emerson, E., McCulloch, A., Graham, H., Blacher, J., Llewellyn, G., and Hatton, C. (2010) 'Socio-economic circumstances and risk of common psychiatric disorders among parents of young children with and without early cognitive delay in the UK', American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 115, pp.30-42.

    Hatton, C., Emerson, E., Graham, H., Blacher, J., and Llewellyn, G. (2010) 'Changes in family composition and marital status in families with a young child with cognitive delay', Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 23, pp.14-26.

    Jones, M., Blackaby, D. and Murphy, P. (2010) An investigation into regional differences in child health and cognitive function, report for the Welsh Assembly Government Economic Research Unit, Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government.

    Kiernan, K.E. and Mensah, F.K. (2010) 'Unmarried parenthood, family trajectories, parent and child well-being', in K. Hansen, H. Joshi and S. Dex (eds.) Children of the 21st century: from birth to age 5, London: Policy Press, Chapter 5, pp.75-92.

    Mensah, F.K. and Kiernan, K.E. (2010) 'Parents' mental health and children's cognitive and social development', Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 45(11), pp.1023-1035.

    Nikiema, B., Spencer, N. and Seguin L. (2010) 'Poverty and chronic illness in early childhood: a comparison between the United Kingdom and Quebec', Pediatrics, originally published online Feb 1, 2010 (2010;125;e499-e507;). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-0701.

    Totsika, V., Hastings, R.P., Emerson, E, Berridge, D.M., and Lancaster, G.A. (2011) 'Behavior problems at five years of age and maternal mental health in autism and intellectual disability', Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, pp.1137-47.

    Totsika, V., Hastings, R.P., Emerson, E., Lancaster, G.A. and Berridge, D M. (2011) 'A population-based investigation of behavioural and emotional problems and maternal mental health: associations with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability', Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 52, pp.91-99.

    Tunstall, R., Lupton, R., Kneale, D. and Jenkins, A. (2011) Growing up in social housing in the New Millennium: housing, neighbourhoods and early outcomes for children born in 2000, CASEpaper 143, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics.

    Mensah, F.K. and Kiernan, K.E. (2011) 'Maternal general health and children's cognitive development and behaviour in the early years: findings from the Millennium Cohort Study', Child Care, Health and Development, 37, pp.44-54.

    Kiernan, K.E. and Mensah, F.K. (2011) 'Poverty, family resources and children's educational attainment: the mediating role of parenting', British Journal of Educational Research, 37(2), pp.317-336.

    Pollet, T.V., Nelissen, M. and Nettle D. (2012) 'A 'gendered need' explanation does not fully explain lineage based differences in grandparental investment found in a
    large british cohort study', Journal of Biosocial Science, 44, pp.377-381.

    Holford, A. (July 2012) Take-up of free school meals: price effects and peer effects, ISER Working Paper Series, No.2012-12.

    Lakshman R., Zhang, J., Zhang, J., Koch, F.S., Marcus, C., Ludvigsson, J., Ong, K.K. and Sobko, T. (2012) 'Higher maternal education is associated with favourable growth of young children in different countries', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published online first: doi:10.1136/jech-2012-202021

    Jackson, M., Mclanahan, S. and Kiernan, K. (2012) 'Nativity differences in mothers' health behaviors: a cross-national and longitudinal lens', The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 642(1), pp.192-218.

    Jackson, M., Kiernan, K. and Mclanahan, S. (2012) 'Immigrant-native differences in child health: does maternal education narrow or widen the gap?', Journal of Child Development, 83(5), pp.1501-1509.

    Prady, S.L., Kiernan, K., Bloor, K. and Pickett, K.E. (2012) 'Do risk factors for post-partum smoking vary according to marital status?', Maternal and Child Health, 16(7), pp.1364-1373.

    Taulbut, M. and Walsh, D. (2013) Poverty, parenting and poor health: comparing early years' experiences in Scotland, England and three city regions, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, February.

    Crawford, C., Dearden, L. and Greaves, E. (2013) When you are born matters: evidence for England, IFS Reports, R80, London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. doi: 10.1920/re.ifs.2013.0080. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from

    Crawford, C., Dearden, L. and Greaves, E. (2013) Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment, IFS Working Papers, W13/09, May. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. doi: 10.1920/wp.ifs.2013.1309. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from

    Greaves, E. (2013) 'Parents' preferences for school attributes: a discrete choice model incorporating unobserved heterogeneity', paper presented at CMPO conference, London, Thursday 23 May 2013.

    Greaves, E. (2013) 'Parents' preferences for school attributes: a discrete choice model incorporating unobserved heterogeneity', paper presented at ESPE conference, Aarhus, Denmark, Thursday 13 June 2013.

    Greaves, E. (2013) 'Marriage, cohabitation and child outcomes', paper presented at Understanding Society conference, University of Essex, Thursday 25 July 2013.

    Prady, S.L. and Kiernan, K.E. (2013) 'The effect of post-natal mental distress amongst Indian and Pakistani mothers living in England on children's behavioural outcomes', Child Care, Health and Development, 39(5), pp.710-721.

    Holmes, J. and Kiernan, K. (2013) 'Persistent poverty and children's development in the early years of childhood', Policy and Politics, 41(1), pp.19-42. doi:10.1332/030557312x645810

    Sellers, R., Maughan, B., Pickles, A., Thapar, A. and Collishaw, S. (2014) 'Trends in parent- and teacher-rated emotional, conduct and ADHD problems and their impact in prepubertal children in Great Britain: 1999-2008', Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12273.

    Chiorri, C., Day, T. and Malmberg, L-E. (2014) 'An approximate measurement invariance approach to within-couple relationship quality', Frontiers in Quantitative Psychology and Measurement, (special issue edited by R. Van De Schoot, P. Schmidt and A. De Beuckelaer), 19 September. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00983. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from


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