Changing children's lives

Economic and social change, including the rise of formal education, has had profound implications for children. This area of our work looks at how children’s development is shaped by external influences, highlighting the changes in children’s daily lives that are taking place in the first two decades of the twenty-first century.

We are seeing how poverty reduction and improved access to services and schooling have reduced some risks and created new opportunities for many children. However, the poorest children are being left behind against a backdrop of generally rising living standards. For example, although school enrolment rates have increased, the poorest children most often experience poor quality education, and while malnutrition and stunting are declining, the reductions are far less among the poorest children.

Our findings highlight the tensions between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ attitudes and practices affecting children and young people. Research focuses on the impacts of economic and environmental changes, how increasing school enrolment translates into academic achievement, children’s aspirations and prospects, time-use, economic activity, and family roles and responsibilities.

What's new

Growing Up In Poverty_coverGrowing Up In Poverty: Findings from Young Lives, edited by Jo Boyden and Michael Bourdillon, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.



Changing Childrens LivesChanging Children's Lives: Risks and Opportunities, Young Lives policy paper by Kirrily Pells and Martin Woodhead




   Compare'We’re not going to suffer like this in the mud’: Educational Aspirations, Social Mobility and Independent Child Migration, Jo Boyden, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 43.5:580-600.


World Bank Research ObserverChild Development in a Changing World: Risks and Opportunities, World Bank Research Observer, early online publication Sept 2014, by Stefan Dercon, Jo Boyden and Abhijeet Singh

We need to end child poverty in order to break the cycle of poverty.