History of the study

The year 2000 marked the turn of the new millennium.

The world had become a very different place than it had been a few decades earlier. Climate change and international security were becoming major challenges. But at the same time, globalisation, new technology and growing cultural diversity offered new opportunities.

The UK government thought that coming of age in the 21st century was going to be different. So they asked a team of researchers to set up a study that would help them learn more about this special generation.

Between 2001-2002, the parents of thousands of babies – including you – were invited to take part in the study. These families came from all over the UK.

Since then, we’ve been following the lives of the children of the new century. We want to continue following you into your adult life.

A history of national birth cohort studies

The first ever national cohort study started in 1946. The government was interested in the generation born after World War II.

A second national birth cohort study was started in 1958, and a third in 1970. The Child of the New Century was the fourth.

Britain is a world leader in these kinds of studies. No other country has so many studies covering such a long period. Child of the New Century has inspired similar studies in other countries including Ireland, France, New Zealand and Japan.