RPC’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, the latest of the Life Chances study, focuses on economic security and life chances as the participants approach 30. View stage 12 here.


Stage 11 (24 to 28-year-olds) focused on experiences of post-compulsory education and training and the labour market.

Dina Bowman, Malita Allan and Iris Levin 2019, Getting to work: insights about the transition from education to employment from the Life Chances Study , Stage 11 (PDF, 327 KB)

Life chances at 27 (video, 5 minutes)

Malita Allan and Dina Bowman 2018, The young adults: life chances at age 24 (PDF, 186 KB)

Dina Bowman, Iris Levin and Malita Allan 2016, ‘Not sure if it’s a waste of time or not’: education, employment and equity – insights from the Life Chances Study, The Australian Sociological Association National Conference, Melbourne, 28 November–1 December.

Dina Bowman and Malita Allan 2016, ‘It’s all just luck really’: understanding young people’s education and employment pathways – insights from the Life Chances Study, Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne, 6–8 July.

Dina Bowman and Malita Allan 2015, Developing a typology of youth transitions, The Australian Sociological Association National Conference, Cairns, 23–26 November.

Dina Bowman and Malita Allan 2015, Class matters? Examining the mediating effects of socio-economic background on young people's education and employment pathways , Australian Social Policy Conference, UNSW, 28–30 September.


Stage 10 (21-year-olds) examined varying experiences of the transition from school to work.

Janet Taylor, Joseph Borlagdan and Malita Allan 2012, Turning 21: life chances and uncertain transitions (PDF, 560 KB) Summary (PDF, 97 KB)

Malita Allan and Janet Taylor 2012, Am I an adult at 21? (PDF, 67 KB) presentation to Australian Institute of family Studies Conference, Melbourne, 25–27 July.

Janet Taylor 2011, Can life stories inform policy in a complex world? (PDF, 75 KB) presentation to Australian Social Policy Conference, Sydney, 6–8 July.


Stage 9 (18-year-olds) examined paths from leaving school to further education, training and employment.

Janet Taylor and Nina Gee 2010, Turning 18: pathways and plans (PDF, 444 KB) Turning 18 summary (PDF, 137 KB)


Stage 8½ explored the stories of the eight young people in the study who had left school aged 14 to 16.

Janet Taylor 2009, Stories of early school leaving: pointers for policy and practice (PDF, 329 KB)

Sections of this report may also be downloaded separately:

  • Part 1 of Stories of early school leaving (PDF, 178 KB) includes the method, findings, discussion and references.
  • Part 2 of Stories of early school leaving (PDF file, 265 KB) presents the eight young people's stories at length.


Stage 8 (16-year-olds) and Stage 7 (15-year-olds) explored engagement with school and work and future plans.

Janet Taylor and Lucy Nelms 2008, Life chances at 16: Life Chances Study stage 8 (PDF, 412 KB)

Janet Taylor and Lucy Nelms 2008, School engagement and life chances at 15 & 16 (PDF, 242 KB)

Janet Taylor and Lucy Nelms 2006, School engagement and life chances: 15 year olds in transition (PDF, 352 KB)


Stage 6 (11 and 12-year-olds) focused on the children’s progress as they were completing primary school. For the first time, the children’s own perspectives were included.

Janet Taylor and Alex Fraser 2003, Eleven plus: life chances and family income (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Janet Taylor and Alex Fraser 2003, Eleven plus summary (PDF, 70 KB)


Stage 5 (6-year-olds) examined how changing family circumstances affected children’s health, development and progress in school.

Janet Taylor and Fiona Macdonald 1998, Life at six: life chances and beginning school (PDF, 7.6 MB)


Stages 1–4 of the Life Chances study examined services for mothers, babies and infants, as well as exploring the parents’ employment and the experiences of migrant parents and their children.

Janet Taylor 1997, Kids and kindergarten: access to preschool in Victoria (PDF, 3 MB)

Tim Gilley and Janet Taylor 1995, Unequal lives? Low income and the life chances of three year olds (PDF, 6.6 MB)

Tim Gilley 1994 Beyond the city: access to services for mothers and babies (PDF, 2.4 MB)

Tim Gilley 1993, What chance a job? Employment of parents with young children (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Tim Gilley 1993, Access for growth: services for mothers and babies (PDF, 3.4 MB)

Janet Taylor and Helen MacDonald 1992, Children of immigrants: issues of poverty and disadvantage (PDF, 5 MB), Bureau of Immigration Research, AGPS, Canberra.

Janet Taylor and Helen MacDonald 1994, Disadvantage and children of immigrants: a longitudinal study (PDF, 6 MB), Bureau of Immigration and Population Research, AGPS, Canberra.


Overview publications

Janet Taylor 2014, Life chances: stories of growing up in Australia, Federation Press, Annandale, NSW. Order from Federation Press

Janet Taylor and Malita Allan 2013, Now we are 21: an overview of the longitudinal Life Chances Study (PDF, 506 KB)

Life Chances: turning 13, turning 18 (DVD) distributed by Film Projects