Nonmarital Fertility and Postponement of Childbearing in the UK. the Attachment of Immigrants and Descendants to Traditional Family Formation Pathways.

Tina Hannemann, The University of Manchester
Judith Koops, University of Groningen
Hill Kulu, University of St Andrews

In West-European societies family formation has drastically changed over the past decades, from direct marriage quickly followed by the birth of the first child to a context where people increasingly postpone the onset of parenthood and have their first child outside of marriage. Thus far, little is known about the influence of ethnic background on the uptake of these less traditional family formation patterns. This research provides important insight into the way ethnic minorities navigate between social values and expectations of their ethnic group on the one hand, and the (often very different) values and behaviour of the host society on the other. Using Understanding Societies data the current study examines, in the context of the UK, if minorities of South Asian and Caribbean descent diverge from traditional family formation pathways, and if the behaviour of the second generation is more similar to that of the native population. The results show that Caribbean migrants are less traditional than natives as they are more likely to experience a conception when being single and are less likely to start a union in reaction to this conception. South Asian migrants are instead more traditional than natives. They are more likely to experience a first conception when married and are more likely to experience a conception within the first two years after the start of the union. Second generation migrants of Caribbean descent, are less likely to experience a conception when being single than their parents’ generation, and second generation migrants of Indian (but not Bangladeshi or Pakistani) descent, are less likely to experience the conception of their first child in the first two years of the union.

Presented in Session 92: Migrant Fertility: Intentions and Behavior