Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political Science

Understanding new family forms

Our research studies the emergence of cohabitation and changes in partnership formation from a number of analytical and theoretical perspectives. Working with researchers across Europe, the USA and Australia, we use demographic techniques, advanced quantitative methods, in-depth qualitative approaches, and policy analysis to explore the underlying reasons for the development of new family formation behaviours.

FAMCON, led by Brienna Perelli-Harris, is a project that brings together researchers from the U.K., U.S., Norway, Australia, and Germany to study the consequences of family change on a range of outcomes in mid-life. We have investigated differences between cohabiting and married individuals with respect to self-rated health, subjective well-being, wages and household income, as well as differences between marital and nonmarital births with respect to self-rated health. We pay particular attention to selection and use methods such as OLS, propensity score matching, and weighted regression.

Recent work has focused on Relationship Quality, as part of an ESRC-funded Secondary Data Analysis Initiative grant. Dr. Perelli-Harris and Dr. Niels Blom have been analysing how unemployment is associated with changing relationship quality, and to what extent higher relationship quality predicts entrance into marriage as opposed to having a baby , in the UK and across Europe. Working with Dr. Shih-Yi Chao and Professor Berrington, we are also examining how and why relationship quality has changed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2017, Brienna Perelli-Harris was appointed the Chair of the IUSSP Panel “New and emerging family forms around the globe.” The main goal of the panel has been to address theoretical explanations for changes in family formation in cross-national perspective and assess the implications for populations and societies.

Privacy Settings