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Age at Motherhood and Child Development: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2020

Denise Hawkes
Affiliation:
Department of International Business and Economics, University of Greenwich and Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London
Heather Joshi*
Affiliation:
Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London
*
E-mail: H.Joshi@ioe.ac.uk. We are indebted to the participants of the Millennium Cohort Study and to all who contributed to producing this data source, but particularly Kelly Ward and Rachel Rosenberg for their work on derived variables. We thank the ESRC for funding this research (RES-163-25-0002) and, along with the ONS-led consortium of government departments, for funding the MCS. Thanks are also due to participants at the UPTAP conferences in 2007 and 2008, the ESPE conference 2010, the BSPS conference 2010 and the anonymous referees for comments and suggestions. All remaining errors are our own.

Abstract

Age at entry to motherhood is increasingly socially polarised in the UK. Early childbearing typically occurs among women from disadvantaged backgrounds relative to women with later first births. The Millennium Cohort finds differentials in their children's development, cognitive and behavioural, at age 5, by mother's age. These could be due to difficulties facing immature mothers, but much of it is attributable to young mothers’ social origins, or inequalities apparent at the age 0 survey, which may also have had earlier origins. The developmental penalty left to be attributed to the mother's age per se is, at most, modest.

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 National Institute of Economic and Social Research

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