Differences in partnership and marital status at first birth by women’s and their partners’ education: evidence from Britain 1991–2012
Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Non-marital childbearing, especially within cohabitation, has become increasingly common in Britain, as in other Western countries. Nonetheless, births outside of marriage occur more frequently among individuals who are relatively disadvantaged in terms of income potential. Building upon previous research in family formation patterns, we examine differences by education and employment status in the proportion of marital and non-marital first births among British women and couples over the past two decades. In particular, we explore trends in educational differences in non-marital first births among women, and the relationship between the partners’ joint educational attainment and childbearing within cohabitation or within marriage. We find that there has been a steady increase in the share of first births to cohabiting couples of all educational groups, but that there has been no significant change in the share of births to unpartnered women. Overall, our results show that the differences by educational attainment in the likelihood of having a non-marital first birth did not increase significantly during the observed period. The findings also indicate that among cohabiting couples, the male partner’s education was negatively associated with childbearing, but that this relationship varied according to the woman’s educational attainment.
This study was supported by the Philomathia Social Sciences Research Programme at the University of Cambridge.
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 15, pp. 1 - 32