Why are NCDS study members so special?

Life for your generation is different to the lives of your parents and grandparents and to the lives of younger generations. So, we follow your lives to understand and learn from your special generation.

You were educated during a period when there was considerable debate about the nature of primary schooling, selection for secondary school via the ‘eleven-plus’ was being abolished, and the comprehensive sector of secondary schooling was expanding. In 1965, when you were 7, the average size of your school class was 37, with almost 4 in 5 of you being in classes of more than 30 pupils, a much higher proportion than today’s children.  The school leaving age was raised to 16 in 1973 so you were one of the first year groups required to stay on at school for an extra year.

Divorce rates began to rise in the 1960s but were still relatively low so most of you lived with both parents throughout your childhood. Children today are more likely to experience changes in their family structure – such as parents splitting up or repartnering – than when you were growing up.

Improvements in both the quality and supply of housing after the Second World War meant that unsatisfactory accommodation was much less common than it had been among earlier cohorts. For example, whereas one in five of those born in 1946 had no bathroom at age 15, this was true for only one in fifty of you at age 16.  When you were young, living in council housing was far more common than it is today.  Over 4 in 10 of you lived in council housing at age 11, compared to 2 in 10 11-year-olds born in 2000.

There have been enormous changes over the lifetime of the 1958 cohort in women’s experiences of employment. Awareness of gender inequalities increased greatly during the 1960’s and 1970s.  During the 1950s, equal pay for men and women in the civil service was established, but women in other occupational groups were expected to accept lower wages simply because of their sex. Gender equality was finally put on the statute book in the mid- 1970s just after the cohort members were leaving school. The Equal Pay Act came into force in 1975 around the same time that the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 outlawed discrimination in the recruitment and promotion of single and married women in employment.

These are just of the few of the differences between your generation and the lives of older and younger generations.  We want to know how your experiences have impacted on your life so far and how they will affect the rest of your life!

By participating in NCDS you are acting as the voice of your generation. You are one of more than 18,500 people who have taken part over the years. Each and every one of you brings something unique to the study, and together, you represent the diversity of the NCDS generation. That’s why it’s so important that people from all different sorts of backgrounds continue to take part in the study. Without you, we don’t hear the whole story and the picture is not complete.

To learn more about why the study was started, visit the ‘History of the study’ page.