Why does fertility remain high among certain UK-born ethnic minority women?

Hill Kulu, Tina Hannemann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This study investigates fertility among the descendants of immigrants in the UK and examines the causes of high fertility among certain ethnic minority groups. Previous research has shown high total fertility among the UK-born Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, but the reasons for their high fertility have remained far from clear. Some researchers attribute elevated fertility levels among the UK-born ethnic minorities to cultural factors, whereas others argue that high fertility is the consequence of their poor education and labour market prospective. Using data from the Understanding Society study and applying multivariate event history analysis the study shows, first, that relatively high second-, third- and possibly also fourth-birth rates are responsible for the high total fertility among women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin; there is little variation in the first-birth rates among the UK-born women. Second, the fertility differences between ethnic minorities and ‘native’ British women slightly decrease once the socio-economic and cultural characteristics, particularly religiosity, are controlled, but significant differences persist. Third, cultural factors account for some elevated fertility among ethnic minorities in the UK, whereas the role of education and employment seem to be negligible.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReport: Country-specific case studies on fertility among the descendants of immigrants
Place of Publicationonline
PublisherFamilies and Societies Working Paper Series
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2015

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute


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