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The University of Southampton
Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political ScienceOur research

Research Group: Family Demography

Families around the world are undergoing profound changes: young people are leaving the parental home later; couples are living together without marrying, and women are having fewer children and at later ages. Our research investigates changes in the family in the UK and in international comparison. In the UK, we study the transition to adulthood, entrance into parenthood, higher-order births, and childlessness. This work provides a better understanding of how factors such as housing, welfare receipt, and education influence childbearing decisions, particularly important in the context of economic uncertainty and austerity.

We also have a strong interest in studying family change around the world. Our work examines the emergence of cohabitation, providing insights into how laws, policies, and social norms shape partnership formation across countries. We are investigating the increase in couples with women as main earners around the developed world, finding for example, that couples with a female breadwinner are more likely to be disadvantaged. Our work is providing important insights into abortion and reproductive behaviour in Finland, across Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, we examine African family health and demography in the context of high levels of HIV, poverty and WHO’s universal test and treat policy for HIV.

Our group is part of the Fertility and Family strand of the Centre for Population Change and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, European Research Council, Wellcome Trust, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are in partnership with organizations such as the Department of Work and Pensions, Office of National Statistics, Population Europe, and the Guttmacher Institute. We welcome PhD applicants who are interested in studying the family in a variety of contexts and from a wide range of perspectives.

family forms

Understanding new family forms

Our research studies the emergence of cohabitation and changes in partnership formation from a number of analytical and theoretical perspectives .

Female Breadwinners

Female Breadwinners

What trends in female breadwinning mean for women, men and children, in developed countries.

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Our work also investigates sexual and reproductive health topics, such as induced abortion, contraceptive use and pregnancy intentions.

Familes in southern Africa

Familes in southern Africa

Improving the health of families in low and middle-income rural communities affected by generalised HIV epidemics.

Professor Ann Berrington

Dr Agnese Vitali

Dr Heini Väisänen

Associate Professor Brienna Perelli-Harris

Professor Vicky Hosegood

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