Residential context, migration and fertility in a modern urban society

Hill Kulu*, Elizabeth Washbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This study examines fertility variation by residential context in Britain. While there is a large literature on fertility trends and determinants in industrialised countries, to date longitudinal research on spatial fertility variation has been restricted to the Nordic countries. We study fertility variation across regions of different sizes, and within urban regions by distinguishing between central cities and suburbs. We use vital statistics and longitudinal data and apply event history analysis. We investigate the extent to which the socio-economic characteristics of couples and selective migrations explain fertility variation between residential contexts, and the extent to which contextual factors potentially play a role. Our analysis shows that fertility levels decline as the size of an urban area increases; within urban regions suburbs have significantly higher fertility levels than city centres. Differences in fertility by residential context persist when we control for the effect of population composition and selective migrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-82
Number of pages15
JournalAdvances in Life Course Research
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


  • Event history analysis
  • Fertility
  • Migration
  • Residential context
  • UK

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