A Unified Approach to Demographic Data Collection for Research With Young Children Across Diverse Cultures

Leher Singh, Mihaela D. Barokova, Heidi A. Baumgartner, Diana C. Lopera-Perez, Paul Okyere Omane, Mark Sheskin, Francis L. Yuen, Yang Wu, Katherine J. Alcock, Elena C. Altmann, Marina Bazhydai, Alexandra Carstensen, Kin Chung Jacky Chan, Hu Chuan-Peng, Rodrigo Dal Ben, Laura Franchin, Jessica E. Kosie, Casey Lew-Williams, Asana Okocha, Tilman ReineltTobias Schuwerk, Melanie Soderstrom, Angeline S.M. Tsui, Michael C. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Culture is a key determinant of children’s development both in its own right and as a measure of generalizability of developmental phenomena. Studying the role of culture in development requires information about participants’ demographic backgrounds. However, both reporting and treatment of demographic data are limited and inconsistent in child development research. A barrier to reporting demographic data in a consistent fashion is that no standardized tool currently exists to collect these data. Variation in cultural expectations, family structures, and life circumstances across communities make the creation of a unifying instrument challenging. Here, we present a framework to standardize demographic reporting for early child development (birth to 3 years of age), focusing on six core sociodemographic construct categories: biological information, gestational status, health status, community of descent, caregiving environment, and socioeconomic status. For each category, we discuss potential constructs and measurement items and provide guidance for their use and adaptation to diverse contexts. These items are stored in an open repository of context-adapted questionnaires that provide a consistent approach to obtaining and reporting demographic information so that these data can be archived and shared in a more standardized format.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-227
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 16 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


  • demographics
  • diversity
  • infancy


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