Study members were first asked about their children in 1966 (at age 20 years). Since then the birth of each child to a study member has been recorded throughout their adult life including date of birth and sex of the child.

They were also asked about the fertility of their parents, in terms of the number of children in the household and their own rank (birth order amongst siblings) in the family.  

Derived variables include the number of children born to each study member and the age of the study member at the time of each birth. These were first created up to 1982, and then updated at 1989, 1999 and 2006-10. The age at the birth of their last child has also been derived. As very few women have had children since the age of 43 years an additional variable was derived which imputed for missing values the total number of children born by 1999 to be the figure from 1989. This imputation was only undertaken for women.

In 1989, 1999 and 2006-10 study members were asked whether they had had any grandchildren, but the date of birth was only recorded for the first grandchild.

In 2014-16, study members were also asked whether they had any grandchildren, but the questions were more focused on caring for grandchildren or for visiting grandchildren.

Obtaining the standard fertility variables

  • You can obtain a list of the standard topic variables to use in an NSHD data sharing request by selecting the link at the end of this page.
  • The XML version of the link can be sent to the LHA as part of a data sharing request.
  • Simply use your browser's Save As facility to save the list of variables to a file on your computer.
  • You can then email the XML version to us in support of your application, or when you fill in the data access application form and it asks which variables you need, mention the 'fertility standard basket' along with any others.

HTML version of the standard variables to view

Download the XML for the fertility standard basket