Related studies

Hungarian precedents

Many surveys have been conducted in Hungary, which can be considered precedents of Cohort ‘18.

In the years surrounding the regime change, several – partly longitudinal – studies were conducted by the Hungarian Demographic Research Institute about families having children that live under special demographic conditions. A marriage longitudinal study was initiated in the 60’s, and three surveys were conducted within its framework. In 1983, the HDRI initiated a representative research to survey juvenile mothers (followed by a second wave of surveys in 1993). There was a large family study in 1985, and a single parent study in 1996.

The Hungarian Longitudinal Growth Study (Országos Longitudinális Gyermeknövekedés-vizsgálat) tracked the growth of children in Hungary from the gestational life to age 18. The study was initiated by HDRI, under the direction of Kálmán Joubert. Data collection and the selection of sample settlements was based on the network of health visitors. The survey started with women entering prenatal care between November 1979 and December 1982, and it was followed by more than 40 data collections. The initial sample representing the country included almost 6300 children. Several publications were written on the results of the study, mainly in the topics of health care and anthropometry. The research yielded growth reference values, percentile figures and development sheets that came to be used regularly in health care.

The Budapest Longitudinal Development Study (Budapesti Longitudinális Fejlődésvizsgálat) was conducted on a smaller subsample of the Hungarian Longitudinal Growth Study, starting with a 443-person, 2 percent representative sample of children born in Budapest between January 1, 1982 and September 30, 1983. This was followed by five more data collections in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1994 and 2004. Mainly socio-demographic and psychological properties were surveyed in the study. The survey was initiated by the Developmental Psychology Department at the Psychology Institution of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Jenő Ranschburg and István Horváth. Unfortunately, the degree of processed data is rather low.

The first phase of the Hungarian Household Panel Survey (Magyar Háztartás Panel) and the adjoining Household Lifecourse Survey Project (Háztartások Életút Vizsgálata) was conducted among about 2000 domestic households, between 1991 and 2001, during which six surveys took place. The Hungarian Household Panel Survey was conducted by the cooperation of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Corvinus University of Budapest, HCSO, and the TÁRKI Social Research Institute, under the direction of Rudolf Andorka, Tamás Kolosi, István György Tóth and Endre Sik. Then in 2007, during the Households’ Course of Life Study study, the available members of the sample were contacted once more. The research focused on the socio-economical and work force status of the households.

The Turning Points of Life Course (Életünk Fordulópontjai) collects data on the transformation of the domestic demographic situation and its causes within the framework of the Generations and Gender (GGP) international research infrastructure. The Hungarian study was initiated by HDRI, HCSO, under the direction of Zsolt Spéder and Balázs Kapitány. The program was launched in 2001, with the participation of over 16,000 respondents between ages 18 and 75, followed by five additional data collections until now. The research questionnaire is exceedingly diverse, covering themes about family events, health condition, employment, retirement, livelihood conditions, well-being and concerns.

The Budapest Infant-Parent Study (Budapesti családvizsgálat) was launched at the Psychology Institution of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1996, under the direction of Judit Gervai and her staff. During the research, correlations between the gender, some genetic features, temperament, mother’s and father’s behavior, and the quality of the child’s early attachment to father and mother were studied, in three survey waves altogether. The research provided groundbreaking results for domestic attachment research and contributed to future psychological studies by developing and adapting numerous measurements.

The Early childhood program (Koragyermekkori program) was a TÁMOP 6.1.4. featured project to enhance the standard and effectiveness of the primary care of children between ages 0 and 7, carried out by a consortium composed of the National Healthcare Services Center and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer between December of 2012 and March of 2015. The program’s goal was the comprehensive support of the optimal development of children, including a modern screening system configured by experts. The program also trained specialists administering the primary care of children, and prepared information materials. The program resulted in several professional guides and summaries, which are available in Hungarian.

The "For Healthy Offspring" project (Egészséges Utódokért Projekt), initiated by the Heim Pál Children’s Hospital set the objective to assess regulation difficulties of children between age 0 and 3, in years 2010-2011. Altogether, 1164 families participated in the research, which studied difficulties regarding the children’s crying, eating and sleeping in detail.

Cohort studies in the world

Although Cohort ‘18 is the first large-scale and comprehensive birth cohort study in Hungary, several similar studies were launched in the world from the middle of the 20th century. Below we will present a few of these.

Great Britain

MCS follows the lives of 19,000 children born in the UK in 2000-2001. It is the most recent research among the world-renowned British national longitudinal birth cohort studies. It covers a wide range of research topics, from parental involvement in education through the child’s psychological and motor development, to health and social environment.

BIB was launched in 2007 and is tracking 13,500 children born in the city of Bradford from pregnancy into adulthood. Poverty and social segregation is a serious problem in Bradford, and specific kinds of childhood disease have a higher ratio here than anywhere else in the UK. BIB’s major objective was to find out the causes and improve the living conditions in cooperation with the local communities, the health care system, and the decision makers in public policy.

ALSPAC, also known as "Children of the 90s" is a long-term cohort study conducted by the University of Bristol that recruited more than 14,000 pregnant women in 1991 and 1992. Families living around Bath and Bristol shared elaborate genetic data and information about their environment at the research that had the main objective to track the health and the development of children.

GUS is tracking two generations from early childhood to their teenage years: 8000 children born between 2002 and 2005, and 6000 children born between 2010 and 2011. The purpose of gathering information is to improve the local public services for the well-being of children and their families. The research is social science oriented, its central issues have to do with the demographic features of families, the education and childcare system, and the socialization of children.


GUI was launched in 2006, tracking two generations: 8000 children from age 9 ("child cohort"), and 10,000 children from 9 months of age ("infant cohort"). The research has a social science emphasis, gathering information on the cultural, social and economic environment of the children, their development and well-being. Its main objective is to improve the standard of public services available for children and their families in Ireland.


MoBa is tracking 110,000 pregnant women and children joining the study between 1999 and 2008. The purpose of the cohort study is to provide information about environmental and other impacts influencing the health of mothers and their children. Apart from data collection by questionnaire, the study also relies on biological material and administrative data gained from the health care system.


The main purpose of DNBC is to define the causes of high risk pregnancies and the fetal determinants of childhood health and disease (mental problems, allergies, asthma). It is tracking mothers and the development of their children. The research was launched in 1999 and reached the goal of 100,000 participants by 2002. Apart from data collection by questionnaire, the research gathers biological samples, and uses administrative data from the health care system.

The Netherlands

Almost 10,000 pregnant mothers joined the Generation R research between April of 2002 and January of 2006. The survey tracks the multi-ethnic birth cohort of the city of Rotterdam. It seeks to provide information that improves the health care service, and thus the health of pregnant women and their children. The Dutch research group started another study in the Spring of 2017, called Generation R Next, which surveys the health of future mothers even before conception.


The Etude Longitudinale Française depuis l'Enfance (ELFE), also known as the French Longitudinal Study of Children included more than 18,000 children born in metropolitan France in 2011, in order to find out more about how their development, health and socialization are influenced by their environment, from the womb to adolescence. Its main topics are: Demography-family; Socialization-education; Economy-poverty; Feeding-nutrition; Psychomotor development and mental health; Use of health care; Respiratory diseases, asthma and allergies; Accidents and traumas; Chemical exposures; Physical exposures; Environmental contaminations.


NEPS is among the largest panel studies in Europe. Over 60,000 participants were included in the data collection between 2009 and 2012. It is tracking several children, several teenage, and one adult generation. It also studies the role of education in the course of life, gathering data about competence development, educational decisions, and returns to education in both formal, nonformal, and informal contexts. Data can be analyzed from the viewpoints of demographics, educational science, economics, psychology and sociology. The purpose of the research is to assist in policy making.


Over 10,000 children participate in the LSAC research. The survey started in 2004, and it is tracking two generations, one from 3-15 months, the other from 4-5 years of age. The study aims to investigate the effect of the unique Australian social and cultural environment on the development of the next generation and assist in better understanding the development of children from early childhood to adolescence.


ECLS tracks the growing up of 14,000 children that were born in the US in 2001. The main purpose of the research is to describe the children’s health and development and analyze the educational and the child care system. The research puts great emphasis on studying the subsamples of ethnic minorities, twins, and children born with very low birth weight.


NLSCY follows the development and well-being of Canadian children from birth to early adulthood. Data collection took place every other year between 1994 and 2009, involving 23,000 children. Information gathered during the research has been beneficial in supporting several public policy decisions, from the configuration of the higher education admission and scholarship system to the reformation of the family support, the health care and the educational systems.