The NordChild study

The NordChild study is a cross-sectional postal study of children aged 2-17 years from the five Nordic countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, organized by the Nordic School of Public Health in 1984, 1996 and 2011.

The foundation for the studies is a basic welfare concept, “Having – Loving – Being” (Allardt 1981). The level of living (having) is defined in material (objective) resources and the individual’s satisfaction of these (subjective). Quality of life (loving and being) is defined by the individuals as satisfaction of non-material needs in relation to other people, society and nature. It means that the well-being of the children is recorded through variables such as long-term illness, psychosomatic symptoms and quality of life and related to socio-economic factors (income, housing, education, employment), socio-relational factors (family, intimate and extended networks) and personal factors (activity, self-esteem, political resources, basic mood, satisfaction with life, sense of coherence).

A random sample stratified for age and gender was drawn in all the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) aming at about 15.000 children in each country. The response rate was 67 % in 1984, 70 % in 1996 and 48,2 in 2011. The total population included 10.213 individuals in 1984, 10.317 in 1996 and 7.715 in 2011, i.e. more than 28.000 children altogether . Data has been collected with a questionnaire, mainly with the same questions in all three studies and in all five countries. The questionnaire has been translated from Swedish to Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and English. It includes questions about the child and its family, the health of the child, health care utilization, the child’s own activities and activities together with the parents. The questionnaire also includes questions about socioeconomic factors and the parents’ health and wellbeing. The parent, who is most familiar with the child’s situation, was instructed to fill in the answers together with his/her partner and with the child, if possible. The questionnaire has been validated earlier in large population studies and studies of children with chronic illness (1990 and 2000). Ethical approval was obtained in Finland, Iceland and Sweden. Denmark and Norway did not require approval at that time, but reported to their data inspections.

Sofar 10 doctoral dissertations and more than 130 publications have been published. Publications from the Nordchild study

Professor Lennart Köhler had the main responsibility for the construction of the questionnaire and was also the project leader. A large number of researchers from all Nordic countries have contributed to this work. History of the NordChild study.

The data-bases and relevant documents, including all questionnaires, have been transferred to the Swedish National Data Service (SND) Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, which administers it since 2019.

All data are for free and can be downloaded from:

Contact persons:

Elisabeth Strandhagen:

Karin C Ringsberg:

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