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Research Paper Report Annex 5

Age at First Birth and Disadvantage: the effect of ethnic minority status in Britain

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Publication date

30 May 2003

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between age at first birth and poverty among ethnic minorities in Britain. It is well known that ethnic minorities, particularly Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, have very high rates of family poverty and early fertility. Because it has been established that early motherhood is associated with a high risk of poverty and other disadvantages, it is tempting to link Pakistani and Bangladeshi poverty with their early family formation patterns. We find, however, that age at first birth had little effect on the poverty experienced by ethnic minorities. While the disadvantaged outcomes of teenage motherhood within the white community appear to be associated with the young women's departure from the dominant social norm, when early fertility is the norm in a minority community, it does not lead to any further disadvantage beyond that experienced by the ethnic group as a whole.

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