Life Chances is a unique longitudinal study that examines how family income, social class, ethnicity and gender affect the lives of individuals.

SPARC’s ongoing Life Chances Study began in inner Melbourne in 1990 with 167 babies and their parents. Since then, stages of the study have focused on different issues, from services for young children to experiences of school and finding a job.

Stage 12 of the Life Chances study focuses on economic security and life chances as the participants approach 30. This stage has been conducted in four parts: a comprehensive online survey distributed to all participants, in-depth interviews with selected participants and with selected parents, and another online survey during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.

Participants were asked about their work, financial circumstances, housing, and their perceptions about their overall health and wellbeing, their community and their social life. Many of the questions mirrored those asked in the HILDA Survey and used in the Social Exclusion Monitor . The interviews with parents provided intergenerational insights into the social and economic changes affecting individuals and families since the Life Chances participants were born.

The COVID-19 survey explored the pandemic's impacts on the Life Chances participants' economic security, health and wellbeing, relationships, living arrangements and future plans.

Funding has been received from government and charitable sources. The recent stages have received generous support from the Prue Myer Fund, the Bokhara Foundation, the Myer Foundation, the estate of SR Jope, the Hector Waldron Pride Charitable Trust managed by ANZ Trustees, the JM Harrison Charitable Trust and the Edith Kemp Memorial Trust Fund administered by Equity Trustees.

Contact Dina Bowman

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By Ursula Harrison and Dina Bowman 2022

Stage 12 of the longitudinal Life Chances study observes a noticeable trend of needing to rely on family resources.

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