Partnership, fertility, and employment trajectories of immigrants in the UK: a three-channel sequence analysis

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



MigrantLife Working Papers


Publication date

June 1, 2022


This study investigates how partnership, fertility, and employment changes interact in the lives of migrants. While previous studies have analysed immigrants’ employment and family, most studies have examined these life domains separately. We use data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, which contains rich retrospective histories on individuals’ fertility, partnership, and employment transitions. We apply multi-channel sequence analysis to establish the main types of joint trajectories of partnership, fertility, and employment among immigrants in the UK. We find three types of joint trajectories. Immigrants in the first group (‘single, childless, students’) arrive as and largely remain single and childless and are either in education, or part-time employment when they arrive. The second group (‘partnered, childless, full-time employed’) consists of immigrants who arrived as single and childless but later became partnered and parents. They are largely in full-time employment. Finally, the third group represents family migrants; individuals in this group arrived as married and half of them also already had at least one child at the time of arrival. Five years after migration, almost all of them are married and have become parents. Individuals in this group are either employed or inactive. However, our further analysis reveals significant differences in employment patterns between migrant men and women. While most men are in education or in full-time employment after arrival in the UK, a large share of women stay inactive, especially among marriage migrants.





Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest