The Nonmarital Childbearing Network

The Intersection Between Childbearing and Union Status

Harmonized Histories - Great Britain

The British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) is an annual survey. It originally consisted of a nationally representative sample of about 5,500 households recruited in 1991. Individuals are added to the panel when they join BHPS households, and individuals who leave BHPS households and form their own households are followed (and all adult members of these new households are interviewed). Although information on fertility and partnership status are collected prospectively, in the second wave of data collection, retrospective birth histories and partnership histories were collected from all sample members aged 16 and older in 1992. Extension samples of 1,500 households in each of Scotland and Wales were added to the main BHPS sample in 1999 to enable independent analysis of each country. In 2001 a sample of 2,000 households was added in Northern Ireland. Retrospective fertility and partnership histories were collected for these extension samples when they were first interviewed. For this reason, information on birth and partnership histories comes from the retrospective information provided in 1992, from information in the panel, or a combination of the two. Information extending back to the 1970s depends on the quality of retrospective information and may differ between the original and the extension samples if we assume that the quality of retrospective recall declines over time. Children are interviewed as they reach the age of 16 so information on the fertility and partnerships of those sample members who turned 16 after the retrospective information was collected comes exclusively from the panel.

Contact person: Wendy Sigle-Rushton

The BHPS study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The data was originally collected by the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change at the University of Essex. Over time, additional funding for the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) has been provided by the Health Education Authority (HEA), Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Eurostat. The HEA helped to carry out the survey of 11-15 year old members of the BHPS sample included from Wave 4 onwards. The Northern Ireland sample, included from Wave 11, is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and various Northern Ireland government departments. Chiara Daniela Pronzato cleaned the fertility and partnership histories and her data set (available from the UK data archive) was used in this analysis.

Pronzato, C. (2007): British Household Panel Survey Consolidated Marital, Cohabitation and Fertility Histories, 1991-2006. ISER, University of Essex, distributor: UKDA


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