Professor Perelli-Harris is interested in studying changes in the family in comparative perspective. Working with researchers across Europe, the USA and Australia, she uses 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.
Professor Perelli-Harris studies family and partnership change in the UK and in comparative perspective. Currently she holds an ESRC-funded grant to conduct the Generations and Gender Survey in the UK, which includes a focus on advances in online survey methodology.
She also studies demographic change in Ukraine, the only very low fertility country to experience armed conflict. She uses survey data to examine subjective well-being among Internally Displaced Persons, and online focus groups to exploring perceptions of depopulation and fertility decline in Eastern Ukraine.
She is Associate Editor for Population Studies, Family Topic Champion for the UK Household Longitudinal Survey, a member of the Generations and Gender Programme Council of Partners, and member of the European Consortium for Sociological Research. In 2016, the European Association for Population Studies awarded her the Dirk van de Kaa Award for Social Demography.
Current PhD Students
External roles and responsibilities
Brienna Perelli-Harris is Professor of Demography at the University of Southampton. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 2006 and then held a post-doctoral position at the University of Wisconsin until 2008, when she became a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.
In 2011 she received a European Research Council Starting Grant and moved to the University of Southampton. The aim of the grant was to understand the increase in childbearing within cohabitation in industrialised countries. As part of the grant, she led a project that conducted focus group research in 9 countries and provided insights into cohabitation across countries. Working with collaborators in Australia, the U.S., Norway, and Germany, she analysed the impact of cohabitation on a range of outcomes, including mental well-being, health, life satisfaction, and wages.
Recently she completed an ESRC-funded Secondary Data Initiative grant to study relationship quality in the UK and in comparison with other European countries, as well as during the Covid-19 pandemic.