About Growing Up in Ireland

Back row (L-R): Aisling Murray, James Connaughton; Eoin McNamara; James Williams, Fionnuala Waters, Niamh O'Connor. Eoin Keogh Front (L-R): Caroline Goodwin, Daráine Murphy, Mary Kirwan, Sarah Purcell, Orla O'Leary, Clare Brilly, Aoife Murphy, Elizabeth Burke. Not pictured: Amanda Quail, Eva Gannert

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 9 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 Phase 2 is Professor James Williams (ESRI). He is 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:

  1. 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
  2. to chart the development of children over time, to examine the progress and wellbeing of children at critical periods from birth to adulthood
  3. to identify the key factors that, independently of others, most help or hinder children’s development
  4. to establish the effects of early childhood experiences on later life
  5. to map dimensions of variation in children’s lives
  6. to identify the persistent adverse effects that lead to social disadvantage and exclusion, educational difficulties, ill health, and deprivation
  7. to obtain children’s views and opinions on their lives
  8. to provide a bank of data on the whole child
  9. 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 will be visited again in the latter part of 2018 when 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.  The next visit to this cohort  at age 9 years will conclude shortly.

Child Safeguarding Statement

Growing Up in Ireland’s child safeguarding statement is available to download using the  following link: Growing Up in Ireland Child Safeguarding Statement March 2018.


Governance and Consultation Processes

More about the governance of Growing Up in Ireland and its consultation processes are available on this page.


Using Growing Up in Ireland Data for Research

Further details on accessing Growing Up in Ireland data for research are available here.  All information provided as part of Growing Up in Ireland are treated as strictly confidential.  The study is carried out under the Statistics Act (1993) – this makes it an offence to use the data for anything other than research purposes or to attempt to identify individuals.  Researchers seeking to use Growing Up in Ireland anonymised data must agree to these conditions and abide by any other conditions, such as relating to data security, as set out by the Central Statistics Office, DCYA, ISSDA, the GUI Study Team or related bodies.


Team Members

Principal Investigator: Professor James Williams, Research Professor, ESRI

Study Team Management Group: Professor Richard Layte (TCD/ESRI),  Professor Emer Smyth (ESRI), Professor Dorothy Watson (ESRI), Dr Elizabeth Nixon (TCD), Dr Anne Nolan (ESRI/TCD), Dr Lina Zgaga (TCD); Professor Trevor Spratt (TCD)

Research Team:  Dr. Aisling Murray (Research Officer), Dr Eoin McNamara (Research Analyst), Daráine Murphy (Research Assistant) and Dr Desmond O’Mahony (Research Analyst).

Survey and Data Manager: Dr Amanda Quail

Database Programmer/Analysts: Eva Gannert, Eoin Keogh

Fieldwork Team:  Aoife Murphy and Laura Cashman (Project Survey Supervisors); Elizabeth Burke and Dr Andrew Moore (Executive Officers); Fionnuala Waters (Clerical Officer); Sarah Purcell (Clerical Officer), Mary Kirwan (Clerical Officer), Claire Brilly (Clerical Officer), David Duffy (Clerical Officer), Debbie Godbolt (Clerical Officer) and Tosin Omiyale (Clerical Officer).

Project Support Administrator: Caroline Goodwin

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