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Social Sciences: Social Statistics & DemographyPart of Social Sciences
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Dr Brienna Perelli-Harris PhD

Associate Professor in Demography

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Associate Professor Perelli-Harris joined the University of Southampton in 2011. Previously she was a Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany and a post-doc at the University of Wisconsin. She completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Michigan in 2006.

Are the changes in partnership formation that we see occurring around the world universal or unique to each context?

Dr. Perelli-Harris currently holds a five-year European Research Council starting grant to study the increase in childbearing within cohabitation in industrialised countries (visit Working with researchers across Europe, the USA and Australia, she is using demographic techniques and in-depth qualitative methods to explore the underlying reasons for the development of new family formation behaviours. She has published in top Demography, Sociology, and Social Policy journals and is trying to better understand why cohabitation has increased so rapidly in some countries, but not in others. Recently, she has edited a Special Collection in Demographic Research “Focus on Partnerships: Discourses on cohabitation and marriage throughout Europe and Australia.”

Referees for the journals Demography, Population Studies, Journal of Marriage and Family, European Journal of Population, American Journal of Sociology, European Sociological Review, Demographic Research, Social Forces, Advances in Lifecourse Research.





Research interests

My research investigates changes in the family across countries, including: nonmarital childbearing, fertility, union formation; demographic techniques, mixed-methods; decline to very low fertility and family change in the former Soviet Union.

Work in progress

  • the reciprocal relationship between polices and union formation across Europe
  • differentials in fertility by union status
  • the spatial distribution of nonmarital fertility across Europe
  • changes in attitudes and values towards cohabitation and childbearing within cohabitation in Europe and Australia

Research project(s)

Childbearing within Cohabitation


Book Section(s)



Supervising research projects on:

  • social mobility and fertility
  • the analysis and prediction of family-life event sequences
  • union dissolution and fertility in new partnerships
Dr Brienna Perelli-Harris
Social Statistics & Demography Social Sciences University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/4013

Telephone: (023) 8059 7180

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