Young Lives

Young Lives is a long-term international research project investigating the changing nature of childhood poverty in order to:

  • improve understanding of the causes and consequences of childhood poverty and to examine how policies affect children’s well-being
  • inform the development and implementation of policies and practices that will reduce childhood poverty.

To do this we are tracking the lives of 12,000 children growing up in four developing countries over 15 years. The study countries – Ethiopia, the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, Peru and Vietnam – were selected to reflect a wide range of cultural, political, geographical and social contexts.


Our work is unique in the way it integrates regular questionnaire-based surveys of all the children and their carers every 3 years with more in-depth research using participatory methods with selected children, together with monitoring of relevant government policies, budgets and actual spending on services such as health and education at community level. Linked with our commitment to communications and policy engagement, we are using the results to influence the development of thinking, policy and practice and have a real impact on poor children’s lives.


The broad approach we take to poverty is multi-dimensional. Traditionally, researchers have seen poverty primarily in terms of lack of income and material goods, or deprivations of education, health, hunger and protection. Young Lives is developing a holistic understanding of childhood poverty and its impacts on children’s lives, including on their social, emotional and psychological well-being, their life chances and those of their families.


In each country we work with leading national research institutes, government statistics departments, and the international NGO Save the Children. The work of the national teams is supported by partners within UK universities including the Open University, the Institute of Education (London) and the University of Reading. The project directorate is based within the University of Oxford’s Department of International Development, under the leadership of Dr Jo Boyden.



Key information

Operation level:
Works with age groups:
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Organisation mandate

, Children 0 - 18


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