In 2006, the South African Presidency embarked on an intensive effort to track changes in the well-being of South Africans by closely following about 28 000 people - young and old, rich and poor - over a period of years. The National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) will be the first national panel study to document the dynamic structure of a sample of household members in South Africa and changes in their incomes, expenditures, assets, access to services, education, health and other dimensions of well-being. A key feature of the panel study is its ability to follow people as they move out of their original 7 305 households. In doing this, the movement of household members as they leave and/or return to the household or set up their own households will be adequately captured in subsequent waves. The first "baseline" wave of NIDS was conducted by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) based at the University of Cape Town’s School of Economics. The first wave of fieldwork commenced in February 2008, with data and report release in July 2009. The design of NIDS envisaged data collection every two years.