Uppsala Birth Cohort Multigeneration Study (UBCoS)

SND-ID: EXT 0155

This study is part of the collection Swedish Cohort Consortium (Cohorts.se)

Creator/Principal investigator(s)

Ilona Koupil - Stockholm University, Centre for Health Equity Studies


The unique multigenerational data base, Uppsala Birth Cohort Multigeneration Study (UBCoS), was established in 2004 by combining existing data on a representative and well-defined cohort of 14,192 males and females born in Uppsala from 1915-1929 with information on descendants of the original cohort members obtained from routine data registers.

To date, the study has been further developed by additional data collection in school archives and records from Census 1930 and the period of follow-up extended till end of year 2010. Further data collection is currently ongoing.

The study is unique in investigating intergenerational effects as "forward in time" processes, starting at the beginning of the last century (i.e. well before any of the routine registers were in place). Intergenerational associations can be currently investigated in more than 140,000 study subjects from families spanning up to five generations, including the 14,192 original cohort members, their 22,559 children, 38,771 grandchildren and 25,471 great grandchildren.

The main research objectives are to:
(i) Address questions

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Research principal, contributors, and funding

Research principal

Stockholm University

Responsible department/unit

Centre for Health Equity Studies

Funding 1

  • Funding agency: Swedish Research Council for Heath, Workning Life and Walfare
  • Funding agency's reference number: 2013-1084

Funding 2

  • Funding agency: Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research
  • Funding agency's reference number: 2003-0101, 2004-1439, 2006-1276, 2007-1010

Funding 3

  • Funding agency: Swedish Research Council
  • Funding agency's reference number: 2013-5104, 2013-2139, 2013-5474, 2006-7498, 345-2003-2440
Protection and ethical review

Ethics Review

Stockholm - Ref. 2009/1115-32 (2009-06-29)

Stockholm - Ref. 03-117 (2003-03-10)

Stockholm - Ref. 2009/1830-32 (2009-11-23)

Stockholm - Ref. 04-944T (2004-12-10)

Method and time period

Unit of analysis


The original cohort consisted of 14,192 men and women born at Uppsala University Hospital during the period 1915-1929. Their partners and descendants are also included in the study.

Time Method

Sampling procedure

Total universe/Complete enumeration

Time period(s) investigated

1915-01-01 – 2010-12-31

Geographic coverage

Geographic spread

Geographic description: Sweden


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Donrovich R, Drefahl S, Koupil I. Early life conditions, partnership histories, and mortality risk for Swedish men and women born 1915-1929. Soc Sci Med 2014;108:60-67. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.036

Goodman A, Koupil I. Social and biological determinants of reproductive success in Swedish males and females born 1915-1929. Evolution and Human Behavior 2009;30(5)329-41. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.03.007

Modin B, Koupil I, Vågerö D. The impact of early twentieth century illegitimacy across three generations. Longevity and intergenerational health correlates. Soc Sci Med 2009;68(9):1633-40. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.02.019

Fors S, Modin B, Koupil I, Vågerö D. Socioeconomic inequalities in circulatory and all-cause mortality after retirement: the impact of mid-life income and old-age pension. Evidence from the Uppsala Birth Cohort Study. J Epidemiol Community Health 2012;66:e16. doi: 10.1136/jech.2010.131177

Modin B, Fritzell J. The long arm of the family: are parental and grandparental earnings related to young men's body mass index and cognitive ability? Int J Epidemiol 2009;38(3):733-44. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyp001

Lawson D, Makoli A, Goodman A. Sibling configuration predicts individual and descendant socioeconomic success in a modern post-industrial society. PLoS One 2013;8(9):e73698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073698

Book section:Pickles A, De Stavola BL. Chapter 9 An overview of methods for studying events and their timing. In "Epidemiological Methods in Life Course Research", Pickles A, Maughan B, Wadsworth M (eds). Oxford University Press 2007.

Gisselmann M, Koupil I, De Stavola BL. The combined influence of parental education and preterm birth on school performance. J Epidemiol Community Health 2010;65:764-9. doi: 10.1136/jech.2009.105569

Risnes KR, Vatten LJ, Baker JL, Jameson K, Sovio U, Kajantie E, Osler M, Morley R, Jokela M, Painter RC, Sundh V, Jacobsen GW, Eriksson JG, Sørensen TI, Bracken MB. Birtweight and mortality in adulthood: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Epidemiol 2011;40(3):647-61. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyq267

Modin B, Eriksson R, Vågerö D. Intergenerational continuity in school performance: Do grandparents matter? Eur Sociol Rev 2012. doi:10.1093/esr/jcs064

MacCabe JH, Koupil I, Leon DA. Lifetime reproductive output over two generations in patients with psychosis and their unaffected siblings: The Uppsala 1915-1929 Birth Cohort Multigenerational Study. Psychological Medicine 2009;39(10):1667-76. doi: 10.1017/S0033291709005431

De Stavola BL, Leon DA, Koupil I. Intergenerational correlations in size at birth and the contribution of environmental factors: The Uppsala Birth Cohort Multigenerational Study, Sweden, 1915-2002. Am J Epidemiol 2011;174(1):52-62. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr032

McCormack V, dos Santos Silva I. Koupil I, Leon DA, Lithell H. Birth characteristics and adult cancer incidence: Swedish cohort of over 11,000 men and women. Int J Cancer 2005;115(4):611-617. doi:10.1002/ijc.20915

Goodman A, Koupil I. The effect of school performance upon marriage and long-term reproductive success in 10,000 Swedish males and females born 1915–1929. Evolution and Human Behavior 2010, 31(6) 425-435. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.06.002

Danziger PD, Silverwood R, Koupil I. Fetal growth, early life circumstances, and risk of suicide in late adulthood. Eur J Epidemiol 2011;26(7):571-581. doi:10.1007/s10654-011-9592-3

Heshmati A, Koupil I. Placental weight and foetal growth rate as predictors of ischaemic heart disease in a Swedish cohort. J Dev Orig Health Dis 2014 doi:10.1017/S2040174414000142

Goodman A, Kajantie E, Osmond C, Eriksson J, Koupil I, Thornburg K, Phillips DI. The relationship between umbilical cord length and chronic rheumatic heart disease: a prospective cohort study. Eur J Prev Cardiol 2014. doi:10.1177/2047487314544082

Koupil I. The Uppsala studies on developmental origins of health and disease. J Intern Med 2007;261(5):426-36. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01799.x

Ahrén-Moonga J, Silverwood R, Klinteberg BA, Koupil I. Association of higher parental and grandparental education and higher school grades with risk of hospitalization for eating disorders in females: the Uppsala birth cohort multigenerational study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;170(5):566-75. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp166

Goodman A, Koupil I, Lawson DW. Low fertility increases descendant socioeconomic position but reduces long-term fitness in a modern post-industrial society. Proc Biol Sci 2012;279(1746):4342-51. doi:10.1098/rspb.2012.1415

Silva I dos S, De Stavola B, McCormack V, Collaborative Group on Pre-Natal Risk Factors and Subsequent Risk of Breast Cancer (Koupil I was a member of the group). Birth size and breast cancer risk: re-analysis of individual participant data from 32 studies. PLoS Medicine 2008;5(9):1372-86. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050193

Holowko N, Mishra G, Koupil I. Social inequality in excessive gestational weight gain. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 (Epub ahead of print) doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.62

Koupil I, Toivanen P. Social and early life determinants of overweight and obesity in 18-year old Swedish men. Int J Obesity (London) 2008; 32, 73–81. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803681

Rajaleid K, Hallqvist J, Koupil I. The effect of early life factors on 28 day case fatality after acute myocardial infarction. Scand J Public Health 2009;37(7):720-7. doi: 10.1177/1403494809344445

Modin B, Vågerö D, Hallqvist J, Koupil I. The contribution of parental and grandparental childhood social disadvantage to circulatory disease diagnosis in young Swedish men. Soc Sci Med 2008;66(4):822-834. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.001

Sovio U, Dibden A, Koupil I. Social determinants of infant mortality in a historical Swedish cohort. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2012;26(5):408-20. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3016.2012.01302.x

Rajaleid K, Manor O, Koupil I. Does the strength of the association between foetal growth rate and ischaemic heart disease mortality differ by social circumstances in early or later life? J Epidemiol Community Health 2008;62(5):e6. doi:10.1136/jech.2006.059147

Jonsson U, Goodman A, von Knorring A-L, von Knorring L, Koupil I. School performance and hospital admission due to unipolar depression: a three-generational study of social causation and social selection. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2012;47(10):1695-706. doi:10.1007/s00127-012-0476-y

Koupil I, Leon DA, Lithell HO. Length of gestation is associated with mortality from cerebrovascular disease. J Epidemiol Community Health 2005;59(6):473-474. doi:10.1136/jech.2004.026518

Manor O, Koupil I. Birth weight of infants and mortality in their parents and grandparents: the Uppsala Birth Cohort Study. Int J Epidemiology 2010;9(5):1264-76. (DOI) 10.1093/ije/dyq046

Sovio U, Jones R, Dos Santos Silva I, Koupil I. Birth size and survival in breast cacner patients from the Uppsala Birth Cohort Study. Cancer Causes Control 2013;24(9):1643-1651 doi:10.1007/s10552-013-0238-5

Goodman A, Mishra GD, dos Santos Silva I, Koupil I. Maternal pelvic size not predictive of daughter's breast cancer or ovarian cancer in a large Swedish cohort. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18(8):2333-5. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0505

Heshmati A, Mishra G, Koupil I. Childhood and adulthood socio-economic position and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy: the Uppsala Birth Cohort Multigenerational Study. J Epidemiol Community Health 2013;67(11):939-946 doi:10.1136/jech-2012-202149

Koupil I, Goodman A. Health Equity: A life course approach. Public Service Review: European Union 2011; 11:382-3.

Goodman A, Gisselmann MD, Koupil I. Birth outcomes and early-life social characteristics predict unequal educational outcomes: consistency across Swedish cohorts born 1915-1929 and 1973-1980. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies 2010;1(4):317-338.

Mishra GD, Chiesa F, Goodman A, De Stavola B, Koupil I. Socio-economic position over the life course and all-cause, and circulatory diseases mortality at age 50-87 years: results from a Swedish birth cohort. Eur J Epidemiol 2013; 28(2):139-147 doi:10.1007/s10654-013-9777-z

Byberg L, Michaëlsson K, Goodman A, Zethelius B, Koupil I. Birth weight is not associated with risk of fracture. Results from two Swedish cohort studies. J Bone Miner Res 2014. doi:10.1002/jbmr.2246

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Access to data via


Uppsala Birth Cohort Multigeneration Study (UBCoS)


Number of participants: 14,192 original cohort together with >140,000 family members.

Data format / data structure


Creator/Principal investigator(s)

Ilona Koupil - Stockholm University, Centre for Health Equity Studies

Time period(s) investigated

1915-01-01 – 2010-12-31

Data collection

  • Time period(s) for data collection: 1993-01-01–2015-05-01
  • Source of the data: Registers/Records/Accounts: Administrative, Population group

Contact for questions about the data

Published: 2015-05-20
Last updated: 2017-03-08