1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70)

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) is a multidisciplinary national longitudinal birth cohort study. Original aims were to examine the social and biological characteristics of the mother in relation to neonatal morbidity, and to compare the results with the 1958 National Child Development Study. With each successive sweep, the scope of the enquiry has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth, to encompass physical, educational, social and economic development.

Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) - Institute of Education (IoE), UCL

Geographic coverage - Nations
England, Scotland, Wales

Geographic coverage - Regions

Start date

Catalogue record last updated


Sample type
Birth cohort

Sample details
All people born in England, Scotland and Wales in one particular week of 1970, including stillbirths. Children born in this week in Northern Ireland were included in birth sweep only. Each cross-sectional target sample also includes all those born anywhere in the world in the same week as the longitudinal sample, who are living in Britain at the time of the sweep and who joined the BCS70 sample during the school years (at least one survey instrument partially completed).

Sample size at recruitment
17,198 births

Sample size at most recent sweep
8,581 (2018 - Age 47)


Age at recruitment

Cohort year of birth


Data access
UK Data Service

Genetic data collected

Linkage to administrative data
Health data
Income/tax and benefits

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Additional information


Previously known as the British Births Survey

Related themes
Covid-19 data collection, Biomarkers, Cognitive measures, Diet and nutrition, Education, Sexuality and gender identity, Housing, Socioeconomic status and deprivation, Language and literacy, Migration and immigration, Neighbourhood, Physical health assessment, Political and social attitudes, Victimisation and life events, Puberty, Reproductive health, Work and employment, Parenting and family, Sleep problems, Social care - receipt, Social care - provision, Social care - need

Key Papers

Reference paper
Cohort Profile: 1970 British birth cohort (BCS70).

Impactful papers using study data
Understanding differences in health behaviours by education. doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.jhealeco.2009.10.003

Sexual orientation and symptoms of common mental disorder or low wellbeing: combined meta-analysis of 12 UK population health surveys. doi.org/10.1186/s12888-016-0767-z

Childhood self-control and unemployment throughout the life span: Evidence from two British cohort studies. psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1177/0956797615569001

Economic and Social Research Council
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

National Birthday Trust Fund
Mental health measures timeline

Sweep name:

Cohort member age:

Data collection period:


Physical health measures:

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