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CLS is seeking input to help determine the content of the Age 22 Sweep

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CLS is seeking input to help determine the content of the Age 22 Sweep

They are planning the Age 22 Sweep as a face-to-face data collection with cohort members. It will include questions on role transitions in employment, education, partnerships, fertility and residence. They are considering interviewing resident partners of cohort members and collecting information on offspring. Consents to data linkage may also be included. The Age 22 Sweep is core-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.


Study background

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a large, nationally representative birth cohort study following the lives of over 19,000 cohort members since their infancy. The study has now run for seven sweeps, at ages 9 months, 3, 5, 7, 11, 14 and 17, providing an incredibly rich picture of lives of this generation. Further detail can be found here. It has also collected data through three online COVID-19 surveys at ages 19 and 20.

The aim of the Age 22 Sweep is to provide data for research and policy on the lives of this generation at an important milestone, with the cohort on the cusp of maturation to adulthood.

Life at age 22

The early twenties are an exceptionally dynamic period of life, traditionally characterised by five role transitions – in employment, education, partnerships, fertility and residence. The additional strain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be severe, striking at a time when the cohort are navigating critical transitions in education and the labour market.


Scientific consultation

They are seeking input to help determine the content of the MCS Age 22 Sweep, scheduled to start in late 2022. They would like to ask anyone who is interested – which may include academics, policymakers and representatives of the third sector – to put forward their suggestions for content and questions by 09:00 on Monday 22 March 2021.

Your suggestions will help them produce a high quality survey that meets the needs of researchers across a range of disciplines and that has the potential to influence policy.

Please send them your suggestions for topics or questions by completing the online Millennium Cohort Study Age 22 Consultation Survey. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact them – ioe.clscomms [at]

In May 2021 they are planning to hold an online consultative conference to discuss the proposals they received.

A summary of content for Sweeps 1-7 is available here. The next section sets out what’s proposed to be covered in the Age 22 Sweep.


Scientific themes

  • Education, learning and investment in skills, including academic and vocational learning and apprenticeships, educational experiences including interruptions to learning, and qualifications.
  • Employment transitions, economic circumstances, the nature of work, including occupation, income, labour market transitions; asset accumulation such as housing.
  • Mental health and wellbeing, including psychological distress and anxiety, mental wellbeing, life satisfaction, loneliness, coping mechanisms.
  • Physical health and health behaviours, including weight, substance use, sleep, diet and exercise.
  • Skill and development, including cognitive processes such as impulse control, emotion perception, short-term memory, inequity aversion, and psychosocial skills such as personality, persistence, motivation, leadership, attitudes to risk, and delayed gratification.
  • Relationships, family and intra-household dynamics, including material and other types of support to/from parents and other family members, and its role in social mobility processes; social roles and interactions (both online and offline); partnership formation and fertility.
  • Identity and attitudes, including political attitudes, behaviours and attitudes towards the environment.

Other proposed data collection

They are also considering the following:

  • Interviewing resident partners of cohort members: by age 22, they expect around one in five cohort members to have formed partnerships and to be residing with them. This provides a first opportunity to study partnership formation, including how choice of partner and their characteristics relate to previous life experiences and circumstances.
  • Collecting information on offspring: they expect between 5% and 10% of the cohort to have a baby when surveyed. This provides an opportunity for capturing some key prospective information on experiences and behaviours in the prenatal period and/or early infanthood via self-report.


More information here.