About the study

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study following the development of 10,000 young people and their families from all parts of Australia. It is conducted in partnership between the Department of Social Services, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Bureau of Statistics with advice provided by a consortium of leading researchers.

The study began in 2003 with a representative sample of children (who are now teens and young adults) from urban and rural areas of all states and territories in Australia. The study has a multi-disciplinary base, and examines a broad range of research questions [PDF, 571 KB] about development and wellbeing over the life course in relation to topics such as parenting, family, peers, education, child care and health. It will continue to follow participants into adulthood.

The study informs social policy and is used to identify opportunities for early intervention and prevention strategies.

Data are collected from two cohorts every two years. The first cohort of 5,000 children was aged 0–1 years in 2003–04, and the second cohort of 5,000 children was aged 4–5 years in 2003–04. Study informants include the young person, their parents (both resident and non-resident), carers and teachers.

The study links to administrative databases – with participant consent – thereby adding valuable information to supplement the data collected during fieldwork.

For example:

  • The Medicare Australia database provides information about the participant’s medical history.
  • The Centrelink database provides information about social security payments received.
  • National Childcare Accreditation Council data provides information on the child care centres attended by children.
  • The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) provides measures of how young children have developed by the time they start their first year of full-time school.
  • The National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) scores provide detailed assessments of children's literacy and numeracy progress.
  • The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) My School data provides information about characteristics of the child’s school, such as location, sector, and student and staff numbers.
  • The ABS Census of Population and Housing data provides socio-demographic profiles of the neighbourhoods and communities in which children live.
  • The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Child Health CheckPoint provides detailed health data.

Detailed information about study’s background and methodology can be found here:

Project timeline

Growing up in Australia: Project timeline

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