Growing up in Ireland (GUI): National Longitudinal Study of Children

Growing Up in Ireland is the national longitudinal study of children. It is the most significant survey of its kind ever to take place in this country, and will help us to improve our understanding of children and their development.

The study is following the progress of two groups of children: the Child Cohort which includes 8,500 nine-year-olds; and the Infant Cohort which includes 11,000 nine-month-olds. The main aim of the study is to paint a full picture of children in Ireland and how they are developing in the current social, economic and cultural environment. This information will be used to assist in policy formation and in the provision of services which will ensure all children have the best possible start in life.

The initial data released for this survey is for the Child Cohort (at 9 years) — children born between 1st November 1997 and 31st October 1998. Data collection for this group took place between August 2007 and June 2008.

The second tranche of data released is for the Infant Cohort (at 9 months) — children born between 1st December 2007 and 30th June 2008.  Data collection for this group took place between September 2008 and April 2009. 

The third tranche of data released is for Wave 2 of the Infant Cohort (at 3 years). Data collection for this group took place between December 2010 and July 2011.

The Child Cohort was interviewed again when the children were 13 years of age. This data is now available in ISSDA. 

The Infant Cohort are currently being interviewed now when they are 5 years of age. Data from these waves of data collection will be released at a future date.


Growing Up in Ireland is a Government study. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs  is funding it, in association with the Department of Social Protection and the Central Statistics Office. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is overseeing and managing the Study, which is being carried out by a consortium of researchers led by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Trinity College, Dublin (TCD).

At the head of the Study Team is co-director and Principal Investigator, Professor James Williams, Research Professor, ESRI. Professor Mark Morgan is acting co-director.

Professors Williams and Morgan are supported by a project management team of six Theme Directors/co-Directors as well as three Research Fellows, and a Project Administrator. The fieldwork is implemented by a team of 5 Field Support Officers, Field Support Supervisor and an Operations Manager who oversee a panel of 170 survey interviewers.


Emotional Development/ Child Behaviour

  • Family life
  • Life styles
  • Play/ Leisure time activities
  • Emotional development
  • Family environment
  • Parental role
  • Parental participation


  • Pregnancy/ Antenatal care
  • Childbirth
  • Medical care
  • Diet and nutrition/ Breast-feeding
  • Physical activities/ Exercise
  • Physiological development
  • Anthropometric data

Education/ Cognitive processes

  • Mental development
  • Child day care
  • Educational environment
  • Teacher-student relationship


The Anonymised Microdata Files (AMF) for both the Child and Infant Cohorts are deposited with ISSDA as flat rectangular datafiles (SPSS format). 

The Child Cohort file provides details recorded from the Child, the Primary and Secondary Caregivers, as well as principals and teachers.  The Infant Cohort file provides details recorded from the Primary and Secondary Caregivers.  The study documentation (see links below) provides details on the structure of the data files.

The Time-Use Survey administered at the first wave of the Child Cohort (aged 9 years) are now available. Data from the Time-Use Survey administered at the second wave of the Child Cohort (aged 13 years) will become available by the end of 2014.

These data include anonymised details from Time-Use Diaries which were completed by the families involved in the first wave of the Child Cohort, when the children were nine years of age. The data file is accompanied by a comprehensive document describing the data, their collection, structure and content, as well as detailed instructions on how to match the Time-Use data to the relevant AMF/RMF data files. The information contained in the file was collected under the Statistics Act, 1993 and can be used for statistical purposes only – to use it for any other purpose would be an offence under the Act.

Data (available through ISSDA application process)

  • Infant Cohort (9 months) data - Wave 1 
  • Infant Cohort (3 years) data - Wave 2
  • Infant Cohort (5 years) data - Wave 3
  • Infant Cohort (7/8 years) data - Wave 4


  • Child Cohort (9 years) data - Wave 1 
  • Child Cohort (9 years) Time-Use Diary data - Wave 1
  • Child Cohort (13 years) data - Wave 2
  • Child Cohort (13 years) Time-Use Diary data - Wave 2


Documentation (available for download)




Accessing the data

The anonymised Growing Up in Ireland data from the Child (13 years and 9 years) and Infant (9 months and 3 years and 5 years) Cohorts are available for request for bona fide research purposes only. To attempt to use the data for any purpose other than research is an offence. To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, specifying which cohorts are required, sign it, and send it to ISSDA by email.

For teaching purposes, please complete the ISSDA Data Request Form for Teaching Purposes, and follow the procedures, as above. This covers sharing of data with students in a classroom situation. Teaching requests are approved on a once-off module/workshop basis. Subsequent occurances of the module/workshop require a new application. If students will subsequently using data for projects/assignments they must submit their own request form for Research Purposes. Please contact us if you have any queries.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion.


Any work based in whole or part on resources provided by the ISSDA, should  acknowledge: “Growing Up in Ireland" and also ISSDA, in the following way: “Accessed via the Irish Social Science Data Archive -”.

Citation requirement

The data and its creators shall be cited in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The bibliographic citation may be in the form suggested by the archive or in the form required by the publication.


The user shall notify the Irish Social Science Data Archive of all publications where she or he has used the data.


GUI Register of Use

ISSDA maintains an opt-in register of projects using GUI data in their research.  To view the register, please click here.


If you have any queries relating to the data please read our FAQs.


For a list of Health related datasets click here.


For a list of Sports related datasets click here.




Journal Articles

Denny K., (2012) Breastfeeding predicts handedness Laterality. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition: 17(3) , 361-368

Madden, D. (2014). THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LOW BIRTH WEIGHT AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS IN IRELAND. Journal of Biosocial Science, 46(2), 248-265. doi:10.1017/S0021932013000187

Matvienko-Sikar, K., Murphy, G., & Murphy, G. (2017) 'The role of prenatal, obstetric, and post-partum factors in the parenting stress of mothers and fathers of 9-month old infants'.  Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology

Perry, Catherine P., Keane, Eimear, Layte, Richard, Fitzgerald, Anthony P., Perry, Ivan J.  and Harrington, Janas M. (2015). The use of a Dietary Quality Score as a predictor of childhood overweight and obesity. BMC Public Health 2015

Reinhard et al. 2018. The Great Recession and the Health of Young Children: A Fixed-Effects Analysis in Ireland.  American Journal of Epidemiology.


Additional bibliography: