Participants focused FAQs

Cannot find what you were after? Please call the Growing Up in Australia team on 1800 005 508 (9am - 5pm AEST) for assistance.

How did I get to be in the Study?

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children commenced in 2004 with two groups or ‘cohorts’ of 5,000 children. The ‘Baby’, or ‘B’ group was aged 0 – 1 year old and the ‘Kinder’, or ‘K’ cohort was aged 4 – 5 years old. The sample of 10,000 children was selected from the Medicare enrolment database held by the Health Insurance Commission. The Health Insurance Commission selected children of the appropriate ages and sent an 'invitation to participate' letter to the Medicare cardholder, along with a brochure on Growing Up in Australia. Families had 4 weeks to register their withdrawal from the Study.

Interviewers subsequently contacted families who had not withdrawn to arrange an appointment for their first interview. The Study has contacted participating families every 2 years since to conduct interviews. Over the past 17 years, participants in the Study have included the Study Child/Young Person, as well as their Parents, carers, and teachers. 

Why is the Study so important?
The Study aims to identify opportunities for improving support and early interventions for children and their families. Findings from the Study are used to work out how to make things better for Australian children and young people in the future. 

What is involved this time around?
COVID-19 has meant that we have not been able to talk to you face-to-face like we usually do. It’s important that we capture the impacts this time has had on you and your family, so we are asking you to complete a short online or telephone survey. 

When will the next face to face interview be?
The Study is continuing as it is so important to find out what happens next to all our participants. We will notify everyone about our plans once we have a better idea of when we can visit you again. As always, we are so grateful for your ongoing support of this vital project. We would be hoping to contact you for another interview in 2023. 

Why can’t I be replaced?
One of the aims of the Study is to find out how events and circumstances in childhood affect outcomes later in life. As the information we have collected throughout your childhood is only relevant to you and your future, we cannot replace you or your family in the Study. 

I’m over 18, so no longer a child. Why am I still part of the Study?
Growing Up in Australia is a longitudinal study, which means data is collected from the same people over time. The longer we are able to collect data from the same young people and their families, the more important and useful the information will be. 

How much longer will the Study go for?
Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children was made an ongoing project by the Australian Government in 2007. The hope is that the Study will continue for years to come. 

I don’t wish to participate anymore
It is important for a study like this to keep in contact with as many people as possible. Each young person in the Study represents around 50 others like them and you can’t be replaced by someone else.

The value of this study comes from having information about the same people collected over time. Your experiences when you were younger helped to make changes that benefit children and their families today. Your experiences today, like opportunities for work and further study, will help to inform policy makers to improve outcomes for young people in the future.

Being in Growing Up in Australia gives you a chance to be part of a unique study that helps develop better services for young people and their families. 

General Growing Up in Australia FAQ’s

Cannot find what you were after? Please call the Growing Up in Australia team on 1800 005 508 (9am - 5pm AEST) for assistance.

What is a longitudinal study?
A longitudinal study collects information (or data) about the same people repeatedly over a period of time. Longitudinal data helps to create a picture over time and is able to show how actions and events can affect outcomes later in life

Who is running the study?
Growing Up in Australia is funded by the Australian Government and conducted in partnership between the Australian Government 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.

What are the areas of interest?
The study aims to examine the impact of Australia's unique social and cultural environment on the next generation and will further understanding of development in early childhood through to adolescence and adulthood.

Growing Up in Australia explores a range of research areas about development and wellbeing of young people and their families including:

  • social and emotional development
  • personality
  • health behaviour and risk factors
  • health status
  • learning and cognition outcomes
  • learning environment
  • family demographics
  • parenting
  • parent living elsewhere
  • relationships
  • school/preschool/child care program characteristics
  • education
  • home education and environment
  • housing
  • paid work
  • finances
  • social capital
  • future plans and career decision-making
  • use of technology and social media
  • bullying and harassment

Why is the study being conducted?
In 2000–2001, the Government announced its intention to undertake a comprehensive, national longitudinal study of children and their families. Growing Up in Australia is intended to make a major contribution by establishing an up-to-date evidence base for guiding policies that will promote the optimal development and wellbeing of young Australians. The study aims to answer a number of key research questions covering a range of areas such as health and physical development, social and emotional functioning, learning and cognitive development, and emerging adulthood. Read the key research questions  [PDF, 571 KB].

Who is in the study?
Participants in the study include the young person (formerly referred to as the ‘study child’), their parents (both resident and non-resident), carers and teachers. More detailed information about the study’s sample can be found here. Get more detailed information about the study’s sample [PDF 350 KB].

How often are the families visited?
Usually, families are visited once every two years when they are interviewed and direct observations and assessments are conducted. Each biennial data collection is referred to as a ‘wave’.

To work with the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 – 2021, two smaller surveys were developed for Wave 9 (9C1, 2020 and 9C2, 2021). These surveys are being administered closer together to allow measurement of similarities and differences in responses as COVID-19 restrictions change over time. This is unique to Wave 9, which has the below fieldwork dates:

  • Survey 9C1 was in field October – December 2020, and 
  • Survey 9C2 will be in field in June – September 2021. 

How is the data collected?
The modes of data collection have changed over time, and vary depending on the type of respondent. Usually, field interviewers conduct both face-to-face and telephone interviews with the study child's parents and face-to-face interviews with the study child. The responses are entered onto a laptop computer. In 2010, the study children and one of their parents (known as ‘Parent 1’) also completed part of the interview by entering their responses using a laptop computer (known as Computer Assisted Self Interviewing). The study child's teacher, carer and other resident parent (known as Parent 2) are required to complete paper questionnaires. Parents who do not live with the study child are also included in the study and are interviewed by telephone.

In Wave 8, the K cohort were aged 18-19 and were the primary respondents. Data was collected from young people in the K cohort using a combination of an online survey, Computer Assisted Self Interviewing, and a face-to-face interview. Data was also collected from parents of K cohort young people through a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 - 2021, Wave 9 data collection moved completely online and comprises of two smaller surveys (9C1, 2020 and 9C2, 2021).

Find out more information about the modes of data collection used in each wave for different respondents.

How was the study sample selected?
The sample was selected from the Medicare enrolment database held by the Health Insurance Commission.

The Health Insurance Commission selected children of the appropriate ages and sent an 'invitation to participate' letter to the Medicare cardholder, along with a brochure on Growing Up in Australia. Families had four weeks to register their withdrawal from the study. At the end of this period, remaining families were sent a letter indicating when an interviewer would be in their area. Interviewers subsequently contacted families to arrange an appointment.

How many are taking part?

  • B or infant cohort: 5,112 children aged 3-15 months at the start of the study (2004)
  • K or child cohort: 4,991 children aged 4-5 years at the start of the study (2004)

How old are the children at each wave of the study?

A table showing how old the children are at each wave of the study
Cohorts Wave 1
Wave 2
Wave 3
Wave 4
Wave 5
Wave 6
Wave 7
Wave 8
Wave 9C

B (infant)

0-1 years

2-3 years

4-5 years

6-7 years

8-9 years

10-11 years

12-13 years

14-15 years

16-18 years

K (child)

4-5 years

6-7 years

8-9 years

10-11 years

12-13 years

14-15 years

16-17 years

18-19 years

20-22 years

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