About Growing Up in Ireland

Since January 2023, Growing Up in Ireland is being carried out jointly by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and the Central Statistics Office (CSO). It is funded by DCEDIY.

Prior to January 2023, the Study was carried out by a consortium of researchers led by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), on behalf of DCEDIY.

DCEDIY and CSO are working in partnership to deliver the study, making sure the information collected is used to improve the lives of children and young people. Experts who previously worked on Growing Up in Ireland at the ESRI have moved to the CSO and to DCEDIY, so that the study continues to benefit from their expertise.

Growing Up in Ireland data are collected and managed by the Central Statistics Office under the strict confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act (1993).

Phase 1 of funding covered ages 9 and 13 years of Cohort ’98 and ages 9 months to 5 years of Cohort ’08. Phase 2 (2015-2019) covers ages 7/8 and 9 years for Cohort ’08 and ages 17/18 and 20 years for Cohort ’98. There was an extension to Phase 2 which included a fifth wave of Cohort ’08 at age 13 years in 2021/2 and a special COVID survey in December 2020.

The Principal Investigator (PI) 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 PIs. Professor Watson retired in March 2021, and Professor Smyth remained the PI until the transition to DCEDIY and CSO in January 2023.

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 well-being 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 Cohort ’98 (formerly 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,  17/18 years and  at age 20.  Fieldwork for Cohort ’98 at 25 is currently underway. Further information on Cohort ’98 can be found via the Information for Researchers page.

About Cohort ’08 (formerly the Infant Cohort)

Data collection for Cohort ’08 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, 7/8 years (postal), 9 and at 13 years. Initial work on Cohort ’08 at 17 has begun.  Depending on the particular wave, information has been collected from parents, carers, non-resident parents, teachers and principals. Further information on Cohort ’08 can be found via the Information for Researchers page.

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 2022.

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, DCEDIY, ISSDA, the GUI Study Team or related bodies.

Team Members

To be updated.

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