1970 British Cohort Study

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.

BCS70 began as the British Births Survey (BBS), which was sponsored by the National Birthday Trust Fund in association with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Following the initial birth survey, the cohort has been followed up eight times at ages 5, 10, 16, 26, 30, 34, 38 and 42.

The study covers various aspects of life, including health; physical, cognitive and social development; parenting; career paths; and economic circumstances. It also collects this information from a variety of sources, including clinical records, medical examinations, nutrition and activity diaries, parents, teachers, and cohort members themselves.

Findings from the study have been used to understand some of the most persistent challenges facing UK society, and have been a vital source of evidence on key policy areas such as social mobility, education, training and employment, and economic insecurity.

Management and funding

BCS70 is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and managed by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

Accessing the data

The majority of BCS70 survey data can be accessed by bona fide researchers through the UK Data Service at the University of Essex. Anyone wishing to access the data will need to register with the UK Data Service before downloading. Some datasets are only available via Special Licence, or via the UK Data Service Secure Lab. Access arrangements comply with ESRC Research Data Policy.

Research metadata, including basic frequencies, is available using NESSTAR at the UK Data Service. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) website provides copies of the questionnaires and documentation used in the study. The CLS data dictionary offers further metadata including variables and frequencies.