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Coordinated by the University of Oxford, Young Lives started as a longitudinal research study on childhood poverty in 2001 and has been following 12,000 children in four developing countries – India, Ethiopia, Peru and Vietnam. The study has gained a global reputation for its rigour and impact and is currently in its 20th year of implementation.

In India, the Young Lives study has followed a pro-poor sample of 3000 children since 2002 across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for two cohorts aged 1 year (Younger Cohort, born in 2001-02) and 8 years (Older Cohort, born in 1994-95) in 2002, now aged 19 and 26 years respectively. So far, the Project has conducted five rounds of quantitative and four rounds of qualitative surveys, two school surveys (primary and secondary) across government and private schools and three telephone surveys during 2020. The longitudinal data has shed light and provided insight into every phase of children growing up in poverty, using a life course perspective.

Young Lives (YL) India has over 200 working and journal papers and have also conducted secondary research using Census as well as NFHS data related to child marriage, teenage pregnancy, migration etc. Their evidence provides policy makers with key findings that provide insight into challenges in implementation and gaps in current policy formulation and jointly work towards bringing systemic reforms to change lives of the most marginalised children. They are the technical partner to National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on issues related to child marriage, teenage pregnancy and mental health and have also provided evidence related to queries raised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

YL India has been working on issues related child marriage and teenage pregnancy over the last two decades. YL India carried out a Statistical analysis of child marriage in India based on Census 2011, in collaboration with National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The report was launched by Justice A. K. Sikri on 1 June 2017 in New Delhi and has been widely acknowledged. On 11 October 2017 a judgement was passed by Supreme Court of India, criminalising sex with minor wives, and the judgement makes references to the report developed by Young Lives and NCPCR. The report can be downloaded from the YL India website.

In 2021, YL India prepared Bench Report for NCPCR capturing the findings from the field across aspirational districts of India and highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in implementation of child related policies and programmes.

YL India developed ‘vulnerability indicators’ for children to be used to identify ‘at risk’ children, particularly during the pandemic. These indicators have been adopted by the Commission and shared with all Panchayats for identification of vulnerable children. 

YL India on request from NCPCR to provided evidence from the NFHS-4, Census 2011 and Young Lives longitudinal study, in order for NCPCR to make evidence-based recommendations to the Jaitley Task Force, to look at the legal age of marriage for girls being extended to 21 years.

Young Lives India has analysed NFHS-4 data for 15-19 years age group and published a report entitled “National Analysis of Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy based on NFHS 4 (2015-16)" in order to get a deeper understanding of the prevalence of early marriage at National and state level in order to inform the current debate around the Amendment Bill to raise the Age of Marriage to 21 years.

In response to the pandemic, Young Lives India generated evidence on the immediate impact of COVID 19 on a pro-poor sample of households. In a 5 call phone survey, they spoke to the young people in their study about the immediate impact of the pandemic on multiple aspects of their lives, publishing a series of headline reports.  A further survey, conducted by interviewing 218 school principals of government and private secondary schools, provided insight into how educational institutes responded to the needs of students while schools were shut due to the pandemic, while a mixed methods study identified facilitators and barriers to education faced by individuals with disabilities. The findings from these studies listed below, are available open access on the Young Lives website. The Young Lives India team is now preparing to undertake the field survey for Round 7 of the longitudinal study in July 2023.

  1. Young Lives COVID-19 survey of Head Teachers headlines report, India
  2. Policy Brief - Are Schools in India Ready to Support Students During COVID-19?
  3. Young Lives COVID-19 Phone Survey Headlines Report Call 1
  4. Young Lives COVID -19 Phone Survey Headlines Report Call 2
  5. Young Lives COVID-19 Snapshot Report
  6. Young Lives COVID-19 Phone Survey Headlines Report Call 3 -
  7. Educational and Occupational Trajectories of Adolescents and Youth with Disabilities – Research Report
  8. Educational and Occupational Trajectories of Adolescents and Youth with Disabilities – Research Brief
  9. Educational and Occupational Trajectories of Adolescents and Youth with Disabilities – Policy Brief
  10. Young Lives COVID-19 Phone Call 4 Survey Four Countries Blog