Growing Up in Ireland is the national longitudinal study of children and youth in Ireland. It started in 2006 and follows two cohorts of children aged 9 years (child cohort) and 9 months (infant cohort). Currently the members of the Child Cohort are 20 years old and the Infant Cohort are nearly 10 years old.
The Growing Up in Ireland study is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), and is overseen by the DCYA in association with the Central Statistics Office. It also receives a contribution in Phase 2 from the Atlantic Philanthropies. Phase 1 of funding covered ages 9 and 13 years of the Child Cohort and ages 9 months to 5 years of the Infant Cohort. Phase 2 (2015-2019) covers ages 7/8 and 9 years for the Infant Cohort and ages 17/18 and 20 years for the Child Cohort.
The Principal Investigator at the start of Phase 2 until July 2018 was Professor James Williams (ESRI). On James’ retirement, Professor Dorothy Watson and Professor Emer Smyth took over as joint Principal Investigators. They are supported by a project management team of seven leading academics from the ESRI and TCD as well as a research team and fieldwork team based in the ESRI. A wide range of experts provide support and advice to the Study as part of the Scientific Advisory Group.
Aims and objectives
The primary aim of the Growing Up in Ireland study is to inform Government policy in relation to children, young people and families.
The founding objectives for the study were:
- to describe the lives of children in Ireland in the relevant age categories, to establish what is typical and normal as well as what is atypical and problematic
- to chart the development of children over time, to examine the progress and wellbeing of children at critical periods from birth to adulthood
- to identify the key factors that, independently of others, most help or hinder children’s development
- to establish the effects of early childhood experiences on later life
- to map dimensions of variation in children’s lives
- to identify the persistent adverse effects that lead to social disadvantage and exclusion, educational difficulties, ill health, and deprivation
- to obtain children’s views and opinions on their lives
- to provide a bank of data on the whole child
- to provide evidence for the creation of effective and responsive policies and services for children and families
About the Child Cohort
This cohort started in 2008 with 8,500 children aged 9 years. Information was collected from parents, teachers, Principals and the children themselves. Additional perspectives were collected by post from non-resident parents and regular carers of the Study Child. This cohort was revisited at age 13 years and most recently at age 17/18 years. Further information on the Child Cohort can be found via the Information for Researchers page. This cohort is currently being revisited now that they are 20 years old.
About the Infant Cohort
Data collection for the Infant Cohort started in 2008 with over 11,000 9-month-olds and their families. Follow-up waves were completed when the child was aged 3 years, 5 years and 7/8 years (postal). Depending on the particular wave, information has been collected from parents, carers, non-resident parents, teachers and principals. Further information on the Infant Cohort can be found via the Information for Researchers page. Fieldwork for this cohort at age 9 years has recently concluded.