FAQs

  1. Who is running the study?
  2. What are the areas of interest?
  3. Why is the study being conducted?
  4. Who is in the study?
  5. How often are the families visited?
  6. How is the data collected?
  7. How was the study sample selected?
  8. How many are taking part?
  9. How old are the children at each wave of the study?

1. 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.


2. 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

3. 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].


4. 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].


5. How often are the families visited?

The 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’.


6. How is the data collected?

The modes of data collection have changed over time, and vary depending on the type of respondent. 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 will be aged 18–19 and will be the primary respondent. Data will be 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 will also be collected from parents of K cohort young people through a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview.

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


7. 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.


8. 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)


9. 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
(2003-04)
Wave 2
(2005-06)
Wave 3
(2007-08)
Wave 4
(2009-10)
Wave 5
(2011-12)
Wave 6
(2013-14)
Wave 7
(2015-16)
Wave 8
(2017-18)
Wave 9
(2020-21)

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

16-17 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

20-21 years

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