What we do

What we do

Young Lives is a unique international study of childhood poverty following the changing lives of 12,000 children in 4 countries – Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam - over 15 years.

Globally children are the largest age group affected by poverty and deprivation which have both severe and lifelong consequences for children, households, communities and countries. To break national and global patterns of the transmission of inequality and poverty, childhood is the place to start.

Children are not only most at risk but early intervention is the most effective mechanism to bring long-term change. That rates of malnutrition have not fallen within the Young Lives sample in line with GDP growth, and that inequalities have hardened, powerfully demonstrates that economic growth will not solve childhood poverty.

We are following two groups of children in each country:

  • 2,000 children who were born in 2001-02; and
  • 1,000 children who were born in 1994-95.

Through a large-scale household survey of all the children and their primary caregiver, interspersed with more in-depth interviews, group work and case studies with a sub-sample of the children, their parents, teachers and community representatives, we are collecting a wealth of information not only about their material and social circumstances, but also their perspectives and aspirations, set against the environmental and social realities of their communities.

The fact that our work spans 15 years in the lives of these children – covering all ages from early infancy into young adulthood – means that we are also able to examine how children change over time, whether growing up in rural or urban contexts, poor or not-so-poor areas, in large families or as migrants, and a variety of other factors.

We have just completed fieldwork for Round 4 of the household and child survey, which was carried out between September 2013 and end February 2014. Following data cleaning, initial findings will be available in early summer 2014. We expect to archive the Round 4 data during 2015.

YearYounger CohortOlder Cohort
Round 1 survey 2002 6 to 18 months 7 to 8 years
Round 2 survey 2006-7 4 to 5 years 11 to 12 years
Qualitative Round 1 2007 5 to 6 years 12 to 13 years
Qualitative Round 2 2008 6 to 7 years 13 to 14 years
Round 3 survey 2009 7 to 8 years 14 to 15 years
Qualitative Round 3 2011 9 to 10 years 16 to 17 years
Round 4 survey 2013 11 to 12 years 18 to 19 years
Qualitative Round 4 2014 12 to 13 years 19 to 20 years
Round 5 survey 2016 14 to 15 years 21 to 22 years

New publications

"Nothing is impossible for me"

Homepage VIE204 children whisperingView the Young Lives photo gallery in The Guardian Society archive

We need to end child poverty in order to break the cycle of poverty.