University of Cambridge > > Department of Sociology Seminar Series > Why do some ethnic minority groups in the UK and Europe have high fertility?

Why do some ethnic minority groups in the UK and Europe have high fertility?

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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. Finally, comparative analysis shows that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in the UK and individuals of Turkish descent in France and Belgium exhibit similar childbearing patterns.

This talk is part of the Department of Sociology Seminar Series series.

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