Household and child survey

At the heart of Young Lives consists of a survey of 12,000 children and their families every three years. The survey consists of three main elements:

  • A child questionnaire
  • A household questionnaire
  • A community questionnaire.


The household data we gather is similar to other cross-sectional datasets (such as the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study). It covers a range of topics such as household composition, livelihood and assets, household expenditure, child health and access to basic services, and education. This is supplemented with additional questions that cover caregiver perceptions, attitudes, and aspirations for their child and the family.

We also collect detailed time-use data for all family members, information about the child’s weight and height (and that of caregivers), and test the children for school outcomes (language comprehension and maths). An important part of the survey asks the children about their daily activities, their experiences and attitudes to work and school, their likes and dislikes, how they feel they are treated by other people, and their hopes and aspirations for the future.

The community questionnaire provides background information about the social, economic and environmental context of each community. It covers topics such as ethnicity, religion, economic activity and employment, infrastructure and services, political representation and community networks, crime and environmental changes.

The survey is carried out by teams of local researchers, supported by the Principal Investigator and Data Manager in each country.

The household and child survey is complemented by in-depth qualitative longitudinal research.

Access our data

Young Lives survey data and questionnaires from all four study countries are publicly archived with the UK Data Service. Find out more here.

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