children & Young people

Home life, school work, friends, family, plans for the future. Children under 10 are included in their parent's survey. Young people aged 10-15 have their own survey about their life experiences, health and wellbeing.  

Understanding Society covers everyone in a household, so we ask questions about children and young people,as well as the adults. All young people aged 10 - 15 complete their own questionnaire and adults are asked about the children in their care. Exploring what young people think and do helps us understand life choices and the challenges of growing up in the UK in the 21st century.

Professor Ingrid Schoon

Champion for Youth

View profile
Ingrid Schoon

What information does Understanding Society collect from young people? 

The young people's part of Understanding Society is a self-completion questionnaire which is completed confidentially once a young person's parent or carer has give permission for them to be part of the survey.  The questionnaire asks them about their family relationships and home life, about how they see themselves as a person and how they feel about different aspects of their life. We ask about their school life, homework, any paid jobs that they have and their plans for the future. Also included are questions on their health and wellbeing. 

You can find the youth questionnaire here. 

When a young person becomes aged 16 they move onto the adult survey. 

What about younger children? 

Parents or carers answer questions in the adult survey on the younger children in their care. Questions cover a range of parenting and child development areas. 

For pregnancy and the first year after birth parents are asked about:   

  • Type of conception, outcome of pregnancy. For live births, the type of delivery, whether smoked or drank in different pregnancy trimesters. 
  • Due date, whether baby born early or late. 
  • GAINS scale basic development question about feeding and sleeping. 

Parents or carers of children are asked: 

  • For children aged three whether the child has a long term health condition, a series of questions about learning physical and cognitive skills, behaviour and psychological wellbeing. 
  • For children aged five or eight how happy they are at school, risk aversion behaviours, strengths and difficulties. 
  • For children aged three, five or eight parental reading with the child, regular meal and bed times. 

All parents of children under the age of 16 are asked about mother's return to work plans, child care arrangements, how parents and children interact at home, parenting styles, non-resident parent relationships and child maintenance.   


Working Paper: Enhancing data around early life in Understanding Society: scientific opportunities and considerations

Professor Michaela Benzeval outlines the areas where Understanding Society is improving data on families. 

Housing transitions

Dr Rory Coulter talks about why he uses Understanding Society to research young people's housing and house moves.



Research using youth and young adult data in Understanding Society


Blog: Wellbeing of children in the UK: where are we now? 

Dr Louise Moore from The Children's Society looks at the latest Good Childhood Report.

Latest News


Latest Case Study


Contact our User Support Forum if you need help using the data or have a question for the Study team

Support forum