The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
LSAC Project Manager
Australian Institute of Family Studies
Level 20, 485 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, Vic. 3000
Telephone 1800 352 275.
Growing Up in Australia is a longitudinal survey that gathers information about children at two-yearly intervals. There are two cohorts, each of 5,000 children. One cohort is being tracked from babyhood to age 6 or 7 years, and the other from age four until age 10 or 11 years. Data from the survey is being used to examine topical issues of social and family policy relevance and explore family and social issues relevant to children's development, and addresses a range of research questions about health, education, child-care, family functioning, child functioning and socio-demographics. Each wave of information-gathering involves some psychometric assessment of children, related to language development.
The sample is broadly representative of all Australian children (citizens and permanent residents) in each of two selected age cohorts: children born between March 2003 and February 2004 (infants) and children born between March 1999 and February 2000 (children aged 4-5 years). Children in some remote parts of Australia were excluded.
While the child is the primary interest, respondents also include parents, child carers, preschool and school teachers, and the children themselves.
Frequency of Collection
Data are being collected from the two cohorts every two years.
Method of collection
An initial sample was selected from the Health Insurance Commission's Medicare database. The primary data collection method for Wave 1 was a face-to-face interview with the child's main parent (Parent 1). Data collection also included two time-use dairies, to be completed by parents in respect of the child's activities, in two twenty-four hour periods. The interviewer also made some observations, and, if parental agreement was attained, a questionnaire was sent to a carer or teacher. Wave 1 data was collected by private social research companies.
Wave 2 and subsequent data collection is being undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Data collection for Wave 2 was completed in early 2007 with 91% of Wave 1 families interviewed at Wave 2.
The development process for Wave 3 began in early 2006, identifying potential additions and changes in the research domains. The primary data collection method of a face-to-face interview with the child's main parent (Parent 1) will continue and alternative data collection methods are also being considered for future waves, including a computer assisted self-interview (CASI) questionnaire for Parent 1 and a computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) for the child's parent living elsewhere.
Selected results of Wave 1 data collection were released in May 2005.
Selected results of Wave 2 data collection will be included in the 2006–07 Growing Up in Australia Annual Report, which is scheduled for publication in late 2007. The Wave 2 data file will be released at the same time.
Growing Up in Australia 2005–06 Annual Report. Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne.
Growing Up in Australia 2004 Annual Report. Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne.
Further information about these and other publications is available on the Australian Institute of Family Studies website.
Data are available for Australia, state and territory.
Further information about confidentialised data sets, user support services including a Data Users Guide, technical papers, and data dictionary are available on the study website, http://www.aifs.gov.au/growingup.
A television program, Life at 1, was screened on ABC TV in October 2006, drawing on the Growing Up in Australia study.Another program being produced in 2007, Life at 3, will examine the factors that impact on the lives of a group of children and their families. More information is available at the AIFS website.
children: sex and age
parents: sex and age
Parents' ethnic background: country of birth, language
Language and cognitive development
Readiness to learn
Participation in preschool programs
Use of libraries
Parent attitudes and expectations about education
Carer- or teacher-child relationship
Family-centre relationship, involvement
Characteristics of school or preschool
This survey commenced in 2004.