UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

1970 British Cohort Study: Thirty-Four-Year Follow-Up, 2004-2005

Title details

SN: 5585
Title: 1970 British Cohort Study: Thirty-Four-Year Follow-Up, 2004-2005
Alternative title: BCS7; BCS70
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-5585-3
Series: 1970 British Cohort Study [1970 British Cohort Study]
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): National Centre for Social Research
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Grant number: RES-597-28-5001
Other acknowledgements: Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Lifelong Learning (CDELL); Angela Fawcett, The Psychological Association; NFER-Nelson.


The citation for this study is:

University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies. (2016). 1970 British Cohort Study: Thirty-Four-Year Follow-Up, 2004-2005. [data collection]. 4th Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 5585,

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Subject Categories

Child development and child rearing - Social stratification and groupings
Childbearing, family planning and abortion - Health
Family life and marriage - Social stratification and groupings
General - Employment and labour
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) began in 1970 when data were collected about the births and families of babies born in the United Kingdom in one particular week in 1970. The first wave, called the British Births Survey, was carried out by the National Birthday Trust Fund in association with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Its aims were to examine the social and biological characteristics of the mother in relation to neonatal morbidity, and to compare the results with those of the National Child Development Study (NCDS), which commenced in 1958 (held separately at the UK Data Archive under GN 33004). Participants from Northern Ireland, who had been included in the birth survey, were dropped from the study in all subsequent sweeps, which only included respondents from Great Britain.

Since BCS70 began, there have been eight further full data collection exercises in order to monitor the cohort members' health, education, social and economic circumstances. These took place when respondents were aged 5, in 1975 (held under SN 2699), aged 10, in 1980 (SN 3723), aged 16, in 1986 (SN 3535), aged 26, in 1996 (SN 3833), aged 30, 1999-2000 (SN 5558), aged 34, in 2004-2005 (SN 5585) and aged 42 in 2012 (SN 7473). The first two sweeps (at 5 and 10 years) were carried out by the Department of Child Health at Bristol University. During these times, the survey was known as the Child Health and Education Study (CHES). The 16-year survey was carried out by the International Centre for Child Studies and named Youthscan. The Social Statistics Research Unit (SSRU) became involved with the BCS70 study at this time, and eventually changed its name to the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), based at the Institute of Education, University of London. With each successive attempt, the scope of BCS70 has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth, to encompass physical and educational development at the age of 5, physical, educational and social development at the ages of 10 and 16, and physical, educational, social and economic development at 26 years and beyond. Further information about the BCS70 and may be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies website. As well as BCS70, the CLS now also conducts the NCDS series.

Response dataset:
A separate dataset covering response to BCS70 over all nine waves is available under SN 5641, 1970 British Cohort Study Response Dataset, 1970-2012. Users are advised to order this study alongside the other waves of BCS70.

Subsample, supplementary and related studies
A range of sub-sample and supplementary surveys have also been conducted, such as the Ten-year Follow-up Special Needs Survey (held under SN 7064) and a supplementary survey of head teachers (held under SN 5225) at the time of the 16-year follow-up in 1986. A related study, Coding of Text Data from BCS70 at 10 and 16 Years: Health Care Utilisation of School Aged Children, 1970-1986, is also held under SN 4126. The aim of this project was to code text variables from BCS70 files, selected from the ten- and 16-year follow-ups to provide information about health care utilisation by the target age group.

The 1970 British Cohort Study, 2004-2005 was conducted when respondents were aged 34. The main aim of this survey was to explore the factors central to the formation and maintenance of adult identity in each of the following domains:
  • lifelong learning
  • relationships, parenting and housing
  • employment and income
  • health and health behaviour
  • citizenship and values
For the fourth edition (June 2016) a small number of primary identifiers (BCSID) have been changed to realign them to previous sweeps of data. See the documentation for full details of the work done.

Main Topics:
Topics covered in the BCS70 cohort member interviews for 2004-2005 included:

Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI):
housing; partnerships, current and former; births and other pregnancies; periods of lone parenthood; children and the wider family; family income; employment status/employment history; academic education; vocational training; access to and use of computers; basic skills; general health; diet and exercise; height and weight; family activities; social participation; social support

Computer Aided Self-completion Interviewing (CASI):
political attitudes; family life; drinking; general skills; psychological well-being; experience of crime adult assessments; basic skills (literacy and numeracy) questions in multiple choice format (CASI/CAPI); basic skills (literacy and numeracy) questions in an open-response format (CAPI); reading/writing exercises (adapted from the Dyslexia Adult Screening Test)

Parent and Child Interviews:
Cohort members with resident natural/adopted child aged <17 in 1 in 2 sample parent interview (CAPI) age specific questions on: childs physical and mental health; mothers health-related behaviour during pregnancy; parent-child separations; pre-school care; current education; parental aspirations; consent for child assessments

Cohort members with resident natural/adopted child aged <17 in 1 in 2 sample parent self-completion (paper) age specific questions on: physical and cognitive development; parent/child relationship; childs behaviour and how s/he relates to other children and adults; disciplining children; school absence/exclusion; reading and schoolwork

Cohort members with resident natural/adopted child aged <17 in 1 in 2 sample child assessments age specific (3<17) assessments: early years (3:0 - 5:11); BAS naming vocabulary; BAS early number concepts; copying school age (6:0; 16:11); BAS word reading; BAS spelling; BAS number skills

Cohort members with resident natural/adopted child aged <17 in 1 in 2 sample Child (10<17) self-completion (paper): leisure time; relationship with their parents; attitudes to school and aspirations for the future; smoking, drinking, drug use and experience of petty crime; self-esteem

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: February 2004 - June 2005
Country: Great Britain
Spatial units: Standard Statistical Regions
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Alpha/numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
The original BCS70 sample included all children born in one week in 1970 in the United Kingdom, but waves beyond the initial birth survey have generally only included Great Britain
Time dimensions: Longitudinal/panel/cohort
(including rotational panel)
Sampling procedures: No sampling (total universe)
Method of data collection: Face-to-face interview; Self-completion; Psychological measurements; Educational measurements
Weighting: No weighting used

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 27 March 2007
Latest edition: 23 June 2016 (4th Edition)
Copyright: Copyright Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage.
Additional special conditions of use also apply. See terms and conditions of access for further information.
Please note: A fully documented database, which will contain all BCS70 data, is in preparation at CLS and will also be made available via the UKDA. Until then, it is possible to obtain data not already held at the UKDA from the CLS directly via:
BCS70 User Support Group, Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H OAL.
Tel: 0207 612 6864
Fax: 0207 612 6880
Further information may also be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies website.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
Guide to Child Assessment bcs70_2004_guide_to_child_assessments.pdf 591
Guide to Child Paper Questionnaires bcs70_2004_guide_to_child_paper_questionnaires.pdf 106
Questionnaire - Children Aged 0-11 Months bcs70_2004_pc_self_completion_0-11_mths.pdf 110
Questionnaire - Children Aged 1-2 Years bcs70_2004_pc_self_completion_1-2_yrs.pdf 106
Questionnaire - Children Aged 3-5 Years bcs70_2004_pc_self_completion_3-5_yrs.pdf 96
Questionnaire - Children Aged 6-16 Years bcs70_2004_pc_self_completion_6-16_yrs.pdf 100
A Guide to the Dataset: BCS 2004-2005 Follow-up bcs70_2004_user_guide.pdf 436
Questionnaire - Young People 10-16 Years bcs70_2004_yp_self_completion.pdf 122
Derived Variables at 2004-2005 Sweep (34 Year Follow-up) bcs70_derived_variables_at_2004-2005_sweep.pdf 346
Revised Region Variables bcs70_revised_region_variables.pdf 461
Cohort Member Questionnaire Documentation bcs_2004_follow-up_capi_questionnaire.pdf 701
Parent and Child Questionnaire Documentation bcs_2004_parent_and_child_capi_questionnaire.pdf 243
Longitudinal Linkage: Rationalising Case Identifiers bcs_longitudinal_linkage.pdf 199
CLS Confidentiality and Data Security Review cls_confidentiality_and_data_security_review.pdf 49
Realignment of BCS70 identifiers realignment_of_bcs70_identifiers_documentation.pdf 532
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_5585_Information.htm 6
READ File read5585.htm 11
View related studies and guides... Hide related studies and guides...

Related studies:

  1970 British Cohort Study: Birth and 22-Month Subsample, 1970-1972 (SN 2666)
  1970 British Cohort Study: 42-Month Subsample, 1973 (SN 2690)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Five-Year Follow-Up, 1975 (SN 2699)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Sixteen-Year Follow-Up, 1986 (SN 3535)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Ten-Year Follow-Up, 1980 (SN 3723)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Twenty-Six-Year Follow-Up, 1996 (SN 3833)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Twenty-One-Year Sample Survey, 1992 (SN 4715)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Sixteen-Year Head Teacher Questionnaire, 1986 (SN 5225)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Twenty-Nine-Year Follow-Up, 1999-2000 (SN 5558)
  1970 British Cohort Study Response Dataset, 1970-2012 (SN 5641)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Sixteen Year Follow-up, Arithmetic Test, 1986 (SN 6095)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Thirty-Eight-Year Follow-Up, 2008-2009 (SN 6557)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Partnership Histories, 1986-2012 (SN 6941)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Activity Histories, 1986-2008 (SN 6943)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Ten-Year Special Needs Survey, 1980 (SN 7064)
  1970 British Cohort Study: Forty-Two-Year Follow-Up, 2012 (SN 7473)
  British Cohort Studies Teaching Dataset for Higher Education, 1958-2000 (SN 5805)
  Occupational Coding for the National Child Development Study (1969, 1991-2008) and the 1970 British Cohort Study (1980, 2000-2008) (SN 7023)

Related case studies:

Do smarter children avoid drug use later in life?
Entering the NEET zone: Does career indecision matter?


View publications... Hide publications...

By principal investigator(s):
Publications based on BCS70 may be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies website.

Chamberlain, G., et al. (1975) British births 1970, London: Heinemann.

Crawley, H.F. (1993) `The energy, nutrient and food intakes of teenagers 16-17 years in Britain: 1. energy, macronutrients and non-starch polysaccharides', British Journal of Nutrition, 70, pp. 15-26.

Crawley, H.F. (1993) `The role of breakfast cereals in the diets of 16-17 year-old teenagers in Britain', Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 6, pp. 39-50.

Furlong, A. (1993) Schooling for jobs: changes in the career preparation of British secondary school children, Aldershot: Avebury.

Lewis, S., et al. (1995) `Prospective study of risk factors for early and persistent wheezing in childhood', European Respiratory Journal, 8, pp.349-356.

Goodman, A. and Butler N. R. (1996) The 1970 British Cohort Study: the Sixteen-year Follow-up - a guide to the BCS70 16-year data available at the Economic and Social Research Council Data Archive, London: Social Statistics Research Unit, City University.

Butler, N., Despotidou, S., and Shepherd, P. (1997) 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) Ten-year Follow-up (formerly known as the Child Health and Education Study, CHES): a guide to the BCS 10-year data available at the Economic and Social Research Council Data Archive, London: Social Statistics Research Unit, City University.

Bynner, J., Ferri, E. and Shepherd, P. (1997) Twenty-something in the 1990s: getting on, getting by, getting nowhere, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Kallis, C. (2004) CLS Cohort Studies Data Note 4: BCS70 partnership histories, Centre for Multilevel Modelling, Bedford Group for Lifecourse and Statistical Studies, Institute of Education, University of London.

Steele, F., et al. (2005) 'The relationship between childbearing and transitions from marriage and cohabitation in Britain', Demography, 42.

Steele, F., et al. (2005) 'Changes in the relationship between the outcomes of cohabiting partnerships and fertility among young British women: evidence from the 1958 and 1970 Birth Cohort Studies', paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Philadelphia, 2005.

Resulting from secondary analysis:
Stewart, A. and Orme, J. (1989) `Teenage smoking and health education' , Health Visitor, March, pp.91-94.

Roker, D. (1992) `The private sector of education: a review of past research and recommendations for future work', Educational Studies, 3, pp.227-298.

Green, F., Hoskins, M. and Montgomery, S. (1994) `The effects of training, further education and YTS on the earnings of young employees', Discussion Paper in Economics, University of Leicester.

Banks, M.H. and Roker, D. (1996) `Work attitudes of private and state schools: evidence from the Youthscan study', British Journal of Education and Work.

Al-saadoon, M. A. (1999) Antisocial behaviour and residential care teenagers, dissertation for MSc Community Paediatrics, University of Nottingham.

Cheung, Yin Bun (1999) 'The blood pressure of heavier and lighter twins: support for the fetal origin hypothesis?', British Medical Journal, 27, October.

Cheung, Yin Bun (2001) 'Adjustment for selection bias in cohort studies: an application of a probit model with selectivity to life course epidemiology', Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 54, pp.1238-1243.

Cheung, Yin Bun (2002) 'Zero-inflated models for regression analysis of count data: a study of growth and development', Statistics in Medicine, 21, pp.1461-1469.

Cheung, Yin Bun (2002) 'Early origins and adult correlates of psychosomatic distress', Social Science and Medicine, 55, pp.937-948.

Kiernan, K. (2003) Cohabitation and divorce across nations and generations, CASEpaper 65, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, March.

Pevalin, D.J. (2003) Outcomes in childhood and adulthood by mother's age at birth: evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study, Working Paper of the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Paper 2003-31, Colchester: University of Essex.

Ermisch, J. F. and Pevalin, D.J. (2003) Who has a child as a teenager?, Working Paper of the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Paper 2003-30, Colchester: University of Essex.

Ermisch, J. F. and Pevalin, D.J. (2003) 'Does a 'teen-birth' have longer-term impacts on the mother? Evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study, Working Paper of the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Paper 2003-28, Colchester: University of Essex.

Gale, C.R. and Martyn, C.N. (2004) 'Birth weight and later risk of depression in a national birth', British Journal of Psychiatry, 184, p.28-33.

Ermisch, J.F. and Pevalin, D.J. (2004) 'Early childbearing and housing choices', Journal of Housing Economics, 13(3), pp.170-194.

Hobcraft, J. and Sigle-Rushton, W. (2005) An exploration of childhood antecedents of female adult malaise in two British birth cohorts: combining Bayesian model averaging and recursive partitioning, CASEpaper 95, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, March.

Batty, G.D., Deary, I.J. and Schoon, I. et al. (2007) 'Childhood mental ability in relation to cause-specific accidents: the 1970 British Cohort Study', QJM, 100(7), pp.405-414.

Batty, G.D., Deary, I.J. and Schoon, I. et al. (2007) 'Childhood mental ability in relation to food intake and physical activity in adulthood: the 1970 British Cohort Study', Pediatrics, 119(1), pp.38-45.

Gale, C.R., Deary, I.J. and Schoon, I. et al. 'IQ in childhood and vegetarianism in adulthood: the 1970 British Cohort Study', British Medical Journal, Feb 3, 334(7587), p.245.

Batty, G.D. et al. (2007) 'Mental ability across childhood in relation to risk factors for premature mortality in adult life: the 1970 British Cohort Study', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 61, pp.997-1003.

Deary, I.J., Batty, G.D. and Gale, C.R. (2008) 'Bright children become enlightened adults', Psychological Sciences, 19, pp.1-6.

Gale, C.R., Batty, G.D. and Deary, I.J. (2008) 'Locus of control at age 10 years and health outcomes and behaviors at age 30 years: the 1970 British Cohort Study', Psychosomatic Medicine, 70, pp.397-403.

Leuze, K. (2007) 'What makes for a good start? Occupation-specific higher education and graduate career mobility', International Journal of Sociology, 37(2), pp.29-53.

Leuze, K. and Allmendinger, J. (2008) 'Ungleiche Karrierepfade? – Die Bedeutung institutioneller Differenzierung für stratifizierte Arbeitsmarkterträge von Hochschulabsolventen', in B. Kehm (ed.)Hochschule im Wandel, Frankfurt: Die Universität als Forschungsgegenstand.

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. Retrieved August 2, 2013 from

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

Hirvonen, K. (2013) 'Measuring catch-up growth in malnourished populations', Annals of Human Biology, doi:10.3109/03014460.2013.827239

Rojas Blanco, L.C. (2013) The influence of gender beliefs and early exposure to math, science and technology in female degree choices, Ph.D. thesis, University of York. Retrieved January 6, 2014 from White Rose eTheses Online,

Patrick, M.E., Maggs, J.L., Greene, K., Morgan, N.R. and Schulenberg, J.E. (2014) 'The link between mother and adolescent substance use: Intergenerational findings from the British Cohort Study', Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 5, pp.56-63. PMC3906729. doi:10.14301/llcs.v5i1.241

Andersson, M.A. and Maralani, V. (2015) 'Early-life characteristics and educational disparities in smoking', Social Science and Medicine, 144, pp.138-147.

Mawditt, C., Sacker, A., Britton, A., Kelly, Y. and Cable, N. (2016) 'The clustering of health-related behaviours in a British population sample: testing for cohort differences', Preventive Medicine, 88, pp.95-107.

Upton, G.J.G. (2016) Categorical data analysis by example, Oxford: Wiley. ISBN: 978-1-119-30786-0.



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