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Exploring relationships between international migration and family formation in the United Kingdom

Waller, Lorraine (2011) Exploring relationships between international migration and family formation in the United Kingdom University of Southampton, Social Sciences, Doctoral Thesis , 210pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


This research provides some of the first quantitative analyses of the family patterns of Polish and Other A8 groups in the UK and compares their migration experience with that of other recent migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, for whom migration is more commonly thought to be related to family formation. The analyses fill a gap in the literature by offering insight into the trends underlying current foreign-born fertility patterns, in the wider context of increasing UK immigration, increasing shares of UK births to foreignborn mothers and compositional changes in these patterns since 2001.

The research uses a pooled sample of UK Labour Force Survey data, combining quarters from 2001-2009, to ensure sufficient sample sizes. A series of binomial logistic regressions are fitted to predict the probability of being partnered and of being a parent, first for recent migrants in comparison to other groups and then for more detailed analyses amongst the recent migrant groups. Own Children Methodology is then used to estimate the fertility patterns of the recent migrant groups so that the timing of births can be analysed in relation to the timing of migration.

The findings show that the probabilities of being partnered for the 20-34 years age groups studied here are much higher for females, with it seemingly more common for males to migrate without partners than for females. In this respect, the experience of A8 females is similar to that of South Asian females, but they differ with regards to the relationship between the migration event and partnership status. For South Asian females, the pattern is consistent with marriage migration, whilst this is not the case for the A8 groups.

The probabilities of being parents are found to be relatively low for male recent migrants, even amongst those who are partnered, except amongst the Pakistani and Bangladeshi males. For females, the differences in parent status are also pronounced between country of birth groups, with Polish and Other A8 females having lower parent probabilities than the South Asian groups.

Own Child fertility estimates confirm that the fertility of the Polish group is relatively low, characteristic of that at origin. For young South Asian migrant females, evidence is found for family formation related migration, with high proportions arriving to the UK childless and having births soon after arrival. For the Polish females, this phenomenon exists at younger ages but is less common, and those in their early thirties more commonly join partners who arrived to the UK previously, and bring their children with them.

The findings illustrate that whilst the nature of migration is very different for A8 and South Asian females, for both groups migration is often indirectly or directly related with being partnered and having children, but that this manifests in different ways, relating to the nature of migration undertaken and the different socio-legal contexts for migrants from these flows. The findings contradict the popular belief that recent Polish migrants to the UK are primarily single, with the migration and family reunification process occurring quickly for this group who have relative ease of movement within the European Union.

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Published date: September 2011
Organisations: University of Southampton, Geography & Environment


Local EPrints ID: 339994
PURE UUID: 121e0255-7de3-4321-8980-d6d6c9dcca9e

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Date deposited: 28 Jun 2012 09:23
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:50

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Author: Lorraine Waller
Thesis advisor: James Raymer
Thesis advisor: Ann Berrington

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