Empirical analysis of the fertility outcomes of women in Britain using count data models

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Review of Business Research


Shivani Taneja

Publication date


This paper investigates the completed fertility behaviour of ethnic minority women migrating into Britain before reaching adulthood and compares it to the fertility of British-born women, in order to understand the level of socio-economic integration. After the Second World War, shortages of labour resulted in mass migration and it was the beginning of a new era after the arrival of immigrants that were ethnically different as opposed to the white population. Ethnic minority immigrants entering the host country at young ages are likely to adapt to the culture and exhibit a pattern closer to the native population. Alternatively, immigrants may also be influenced by the cultural heritage of their parents, following the behaviour of their ancestors. Ultimately it is an empirical issue as to which pattern of fertility behaviour they follow. Hence, the following questions are addressed: To what extent do white-natives and British-born ethnic minority women differ in their fertility, given that they face the same institutions and constraints of the host country? Furthermore, are women arriving before reaching adulthood exhibiting a different fertility pattern than their British-born counterparts? In particular, are the fertility outcomes of women arriving aged 0 to 5 and those migrating aged 6 to 16 different from British-born non-white women? To answer these questions, count data models are used on the Understanding Society dataset. The results show that non-whites born in Britain tend to have larger families than the white natives, although both are faced with the same constraints. Furthermore, variations are also seen in the two immigrant groups and there are quantitative differences in the fertility behaviour of child immigrants arriving in the age range 0 to 5 and 6 to 16. While the former group exhibits higher fertility than their native-born counterparts, the results for the latter suggest disruption as per their norm. Two potential channels explored to understand such differences are the marriage counts and ethnic composition of the women. It was concluded that differing wedding counts among first and second-generation ethnic minority women provide a plausible explanation for variations in fertility. Analysing further, the ethnic composition of women in each of the categories shows the concentration of a particular origin in each, reflecting cultural effects also playing a role in explaining the results.

Volume and page numbers

15, 73-98






Demography, Migration, Childbearing: Fertility, Ethnic Groups and Life Course Analysis