Young Lives was established as an international study of childhood poverty in 2002 when the project started to follow the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam. These children, across two cohorts, the Younger Cohort born in 2001-02 and the Older Cohort born in 1994-95, are now aged 18/19 and 25 years respectively.
Young Lives has evolved to shed light both on the drivers and impacts of child poverty, and the determinants of a successful transition into young adulthood with particular emphasis on the labour market and education. The study aim is to generate evidence to help policymakers design programmes that make a real difference to poor children, youth and their families.
As the research team is following two cohorts, the project is able to compare the same young people at different ages to see how their lives are changing, as well as different youth at the same age, to see how their communities have changed over time.
Conducting the study simultaneously in four countries enables Young Lives to report on trends, explore how patterns are similar or different across those countries, and make comparisons that are relevant for other countries with similar circumstances. Cross-country evidence gives the project greater confidence that findings from one country are applicable to others, but also shows how norms vary between countries, and what this means for children and youth.