UK Data Service series record for:
The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) follows the lives of more than 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1970. Over the course of cohort members' lives, the BCS70 has has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth to collect information on health, physical, educational and social development, and economic circumstances among other factors. The BCS70 is conducted by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS).
GN 33229 | 1970 British Cohort Study
GN 33396 | 1970 British Cohort Study: Special Licence Access
GN 33512 | 1970 British Cohort Study, 1980-: Secure Access
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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) began in 1970 when data were collected about the births and families of babies born in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in one particular week in 1970. The first survey, called the British Births Survey, was carried out by the National Birthday Trust Fund in association with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and its aims were 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 1958 National Child Development Study.
With each successive sweep, the scope of the enquiry 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, 29, 34, 38 and 42 years.
To date there have been eight attempts to gather follow-up information from the full cohort: in 1975 (when members were aged five years), 1980 (age 10), 1986 (age 16), 1996 (age 26), 1999-2000 (age 29-30), 2004-2005 (age 34-35), 2008-2009 (age 38-39) and 2012 (age 42). The five-year and 10-year surveys were carried out by the Department of Child Health, Bristol University, and the survey at these times was named the Child Health and Education Study (CHES). The 16-year survey was carried out by the International Centre for Child Studies and named Youthscan. There are also a number of other datasets (studies conducted on sub-samples of BCS70 respondents) associated with the main study - see DATA ACCESS section above.
The questionnaires used for each BCS70 sweep do not include a large number of repeated questions. This is because the BCS70 is a cohort study rather than a panel study and focuses on the progress of the cohort members (CMs) over their whole lifecourse. For each sweep, the information collected is relevant to the development of the cohort at that time point - the information collected when the CMs are five-years old is therefore different to that collected when the CMs are aged 29-30. Some topics are repeated, however. These generally relate to the CM's physical attributes, health status, employment status, family relationships, housing and education.
For End User Licence data, region is the most detailed geography. County data for the 1986, 1996 and 2000 sweeps are available via Special Licence.
A data dictionary which outlines variables in the study is freely available via the Centre for Longitudinal Studies. You can also explore questions and variables found in the 1970 British Cohort Study through CLOSER Discovery.
There are no obvious naming conventions.
See the CLS web page: BCS: Surveys and documentation for details of planned data collections.
An 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 on the METADAC (Managing Ethico-social, Technical and Administrative issues in Data Access) web pages.