The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is a longitudinal study which follows a cohort of nearly 5,000 children born in large U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000 (roughly three-quarters of whom were born to unmarried parents).  The study consists of interviews with both mothers and fathers at birth and again when children are ages one, three, five, and nine, plus in-home assessments of children and their home environments at ages three, five, and nine. The parent interviews collect information on attitudes, relationships, parenting behavior, demographic characteristics, health (mental and physical), economic and employment status, neighborhood characteristics, and program participation. The in-home interview collects information on children’s cognitive and emotional development, health, and home environment. Several collaborative studies provide additional information on parents’ medical, employment and incarceration histories, religion, child care and early childhood education.

The Fragile Families Study captures information about focal children’s learning and schooling in various ways:  child care provider surveys at the three-year follow-up, teacher surveys with information about child, teacher, and school characteristics at the five- and nine-year follow-up, and through a supplemental school characteristics file (available through a restricted data contract) with data from the National Center for Education Statistics. The core telephone and home visit surveys completed by parents (and children at age 9) also collect information on a range of topics including children’s connectedness to their school, parental involvement, discipline at school, and school services.  Children also complete cognitive assessments at the three-, five-, and nine-year wave, such as the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and Woodcock Johnson math and reading subtests.  The fifteen-year follow-up (in the field from 2014 through 2016) will have new measures on school activities, school climate, academic performance, and college aspirations.  A description of the study design can be found at

 To download the public data for free, register through our data archive ( For more information, visit our website ( or contact us at