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Research group

Family and Social Demography

Happy family

Our department is recognised for its use of quantitative and qualitative methods to study social processes and family change.


Our group of family demographers investigates changes in the life course in the UK and in international comparison. In the UK, we study partnership formation, childbearing, and relationship quality. This work provides a better understanding of how factors such as housing, welfare receipt, and education influence leaving home, partnership and childbearing decisions. Understanding how society can support families is particularly important in the context of economic uncertainty, the housing crisis and the recent Covid-19 pandemic. 

Our group is responsible for carrying out the UK Gender and Generations Survey as part of an international comparative programme. These data will provide more evidence to support Government social policies. 

We also have a strong interest in studying family change around the world. Our work examines the emergence of cohabitation throughout Europe, the US, and Australia. We look at the association between different types of partnership and outcomes such as well-being, health, and sleep. We are examining fertility decline in Ukraine in the context of conflict and population displacement. We also have a strength in studying African family health and demography in the context of high levels of HIV and poverty. 

An additional area of research is on the voluntary sector. Our work considers the impact of austerity on voluntary organisations and the services they provide. We study geographical differences in the number of voluntary organisations and how they complement social welfare and wellbeing.  

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, NIHR 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 Resolution Foundation.

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People, projects, publications and PhDs


Dr Afshin Zilanawala

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Parental Work Schedules
  • Child Development
  • Economic Hardship

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Ann Berrington

Professor-Demography&Social Statistics

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr Bernice Kuang

Research Fellow in Demography
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Professor Brienna Perelli-Harris

Professor of Demography

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr David Clifford

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Voluntary sector
  • Volunteering

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr Liliana Andriano


Research interests

  • Child health and mortality
  • Female education
  • Climate change

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Nuala Mcgrath

Prof of Epidemiology & Sexual Health

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Vicky Hosegood

Professor of Demography and Family

Research interests

  • Vicky Hosegood’s current research studies focus on the demography and health of families in sub-Saharan Africa. With a special interest in South Africa her work:
  • investigates family and household factors and processes that promote health and wellbeing across the life courseimproves the measurement, collection and analysis of family demographic and health data in resource-poor settings informs the design and evaluation of family-based interventions She is a member of several research groups within the University of Southampton including Family Demography in particular that of Families in southern Africa, the ESRC-funded Centre for Population Change.

Accepting applications from PhD students

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