Launch of Young Lives India Country Report - Reaching the Last Child



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Ms. Stuti Kacker, Chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), launches Longitudinal Country Report “Reaching the Last Child: Evidence from Young Lives India”

New Delhi, 19 July 2018 – Hon’ble Chief Guest, Ms. Stuti Kacker, today launched Longitudinal Country Report titled “Reaching the Last Child: Evidence from Young Lives India” along with the Guest of Honor Mr. Gavin McGillivray, Head, Department for International Development (DFID) India.

Releasing the Young Lives India Longitudinal Country Report, Ms. Stuti Kacker said:

“The work of Young Lives provides valuable data which can be used for making evidence-based policy recommendations, for improving the window of opportunities for every last child. It is also crucial to prioritise safe and supportive environments for children as they grow up so that they can become fully productive members of an inclusive society. I look forward to seeing continued outputs from such crucial research studies.”

While offering his address at the launch, Mr. Gavin McGillivray said:

“I am pleased and proud that DFID has supported Young Lives since 1999.  Young Lives has helped to inform and shape various threads of DFID policy and practice over the years. For example, in education; Young Lives and other studies influenced a shift in DFID’s strategy at the start of the millennium from scholarships in tertiary education towards enrolment in basic education, and in recent years towards quality and learning outcomes. I congratulate Young Lives for the wealth of real-life statistically-robust facts and insights that the long-term study has generated.  These make a fundamentally valuable contribution to evidence-based policy making.”

This summative country report draws upon fifteen years of evidence captured by the Young Lives study in India, which followed the trajectories of 3,000 children across two cohorts (an Older and Younger). It provides an overview and synthesis of a much more detailed evidence base, much of which can be found on the project website.

Young Lives ran parallel to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and utilised mixed methods consisting of surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of childhood poverty, and to examine how policies affect children’s well-being. Drawing upon significant information gathered about children’s experiences as they transition from early childhood to adolescence and early adulthood, this report attempts to capture and highlight key findings from various papers, policy briefs and journal articles written over the period since 2002.

The research has been guided by three intersecting lines of enquiry:

  1. An analysis of the factors shaping children’s growth and development over the course of their lives;
  2. Development of the understanding that risk and deprivation are concentrated in particular social groups and localities, with dramatic disparities in children’s outcomes, leading to questions about what these inequalities mean for children;
  3. An examination of the changing influences in children’s lives, including the risks to which they are exposed and the support they enjoy. This has been achieved specifically by comparisons between the two cohorts of children that the Young Lives project followed, and more generally by linking data on the children and the households they live in to the political-economic, socio-cultural and institutional context.

While sharing key findings from the Longitudinal Country Report, Dr. Renu Singh, Country Director, Young Lives India, remarked:

“The design of Young Lives is longitudinal and we have tracked 3000 children across 15 years seeing them transitioned from early childhood to young adolescence and young adulthood. Gathering information on all aspects of the children’s life (cognitive development, health, nutrition, subjective well-being, social networks, time use, household poverty and psychosocial measures such as self-efficacy, self-esteem etc.) has enabled us to understand multidimensional childhood poverty. Findings from over 200 papers have enabled us to feed evidence into programmatic intervention and policy formation both at the central and state level.”

This report deals with the following issues:

  • Childhood poverty from a multidimensional perspective and examines dynamic poverty status amongst households, including experience of shocks, subjective well-being and access to services.
  • Nutrition and health and captures changes in the nutritional status of children, including recovering and faltering over time. This chapter highlights evidence of the effects of undernutrition and stunting on later cognitive outcomes.
  • Provides insights into the educational trajectories of children and youth as they transition from pre-primary to secondary schools and the Older Cohort transition to higher education and skills training. It also captures the preference for low-fee-charging private schools, issues related to equity in cognitive achievement and indicators of the children’s psycho-social well-being over time.
  • Addresses child work and transitions to the labour market for the Older Cohort.
  • Explores issues related to marriage and fertility of the Older Cohort and highlights determinants of child marriage and teenage child bearing.
  • Highlights key messages from each of the thematic areas and provides recommendations for addressing childhood poverty in India.

This country report has focused on various domains such as household poverty, nutrition, education, work, and marriage and fertility, drawing upon the five rounds of longitudinal quantitative and qualitative research collected by Young Lives in India. Specifically highlighting the conditions of children and young people belonging to households that have remained persistently in the bottom wealth tercile, the report adopts a life course perspective and examines various trajectories of children as they transition from early childhood to adolescence and young adulthood. Some key research conclusions from the report are:

  • Increasing Wealth but Inequitable Distribution
  • Poorest children remain malnourished
  • Education Is not an Equaliser for everyone
  • Gender disparity and limited job opportunities in the formal sector
  • Early marriage and teenage pregnancy limiting future options

  The report can be downloaded from with supporting summary and infographics

To watch the video from the launch, follow the following links

Key Note address by Ms. Stuti Kacker, Chairperson, NCPCR -

Special Remarks by Mr. Gavin McGillivray, Head of DFID India -

Key Recommendations from the launch of Country Report by Dr. Renu Singh, Country Director, YL India -

About Young Lives

Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, following the lives of 12,000 children in four countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) over fifteen years.

Young Lives is core-funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development (DFID).

Young Lives India is a collaboration between CESS (Hyderabad), SPMVV (Tirupati), Save the Children, and University of Oxford (UK). For more details, visit

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Renu Singh, Country Director, Young Lives India

Email:; mobile: +919810419540

Ms. Sultanat Khan, Research Communication & Events Coordinator, Young Lives India

Email:; mobile: +918510807860