Data and Documentation

The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study changed its name to The Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). Note that all documentation issued prior to January 2023 contains the study’s former name. Any further reference to FFCWS should kindly observe this name change. Visit FFCWS News to learn more about this name change.


Data are free to download from Princeton University's Office of Population Research (OPR) data archive. For detailed instructions on how to apply, see our OPR archive tutorial.

Currently, there are six waves of publicly available data including baseline and Year 1, Year 3, Year 5, Year 9, and Year 15 follow-ups. In order to protect the confidentiality of survey respondents, geographic identifiers, medical records data, contextual data (i.e., census tract characteristics), macroeconomic indicators, and genetic biomarkers are not available in the public use data files. Researchers may apply for these data via a restricted use contract.


FFCWS has documentation to help you understand and utilize the data. The Public Data Documentation page is a good place to start with details about sampling, survey weights, the data User Guides, codebooks, and questionnaires.

We also have answers to frequently asked questions, a list of data alerts, and information about restricted data including how to gain access.

You can also use the FFCWS Metadata Explorer to navigate a full list of the FFCWS Public Data variables. Browse and Advanced Search functions are available or download and directly interact with the metadata CSV.

What is included in each survey?

There are interviews with both mothers and fathers at the child’s birth and again when children are ages one, 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. At Year 15, the primary caregiver (PCG) interview covers this material along with other measures previously collected in the PCG surveys. Additional components include home visits, teacher surveys, and saliva samples. 

See the questionnaires at each wave or the Metadata Explorer for more details on the topics covered in the interviews. Many measures overlap with those used in other large-scale studies such as the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), Early Head Start, the Teenage Parent Demonstration, and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort 2000 (ECLS-B). See the scales documentation at the end of each wave's User Guide for more details on established measures.

What will be included at Age 22?

In 2020 we began fieldwork for the seventh wave of the Study, when our focal children were approximately 22 years old. This wave will include a survey with the “focal child” as a young adult as well as with the person who was the Primary Caregiver (PCG) at Age 15. For data on the young adults, we will include questions on a wide range of topics including housing, education, employment, income, assistance, finances, relationships, family formation, systems involvement, identity, health and behavior, and substance use. For PCGs we will ask questions about their own housing, education, employment, income, assistance, finances, relationships, identity, health and behavior, and substance use and about the young adult’s housing, education, system’s involvement, health, relationships, and employment.

For both respondents, we have included additional questions to capture their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in the specific COVID-19 questions we will be asking, please email [email protected].

Here are the completed study components by wave.