Changing Populations

Page 1

Changing Populations November 2018 | Issue 3

Issue 9

Choosing between owning a home and becoming a parent

January 2022

Moving home during childhood: is it harmful?

Does being a grandparent affect mental health?

Contents Welcome


ESRC awards £8.26m for new Connecting Generations research


Choosing between owning a home and becoming a parent

Moving home during childhood: is it harmful?


The Covid-19 crisis and children’s well-being


A troubled year: Life satisfaction during the pandemic


Royal visit by King and Queen of Sweden


CPC at IPC2021



Does being a grandparent affect mental health?


CPC webinars


Researcher spotlight


PhD spotlight


PhD congratulations and new starters



Facts and Figures


ello, I am delighted to be welcoming you to this edition of Changing Populations with some exciting news about the future of the Centre. You may have already heard by now that CPC members are to receive funding to carry out research on ‘Connecting Generations’. Led by me and five Co-Directors, the programme is one of six new ESRC Centres which will tackle critical social and economic issues. From 2022, Connecting Generations will support a strategic partnership between CPC, the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Research at the University of Oxford, and the Resolution Foundation. Read the full story about the ESRC’s major funding announcement and find out more about the Connecting Generations research programme on page 4. Also in this edition, we learn more about family life; from choosing between a home and becoming a parent (page 7) to how grandparenting in different countries affects mental health (page 14). On page 9, we find out about the effects of moving home during childhood, and page 11 features a summary of a workshop run earlier in the year by the Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network on the impacts of Covid-19 on child well-being. We have an update on our members’ contributions at the 2021 IUSSP International Population Conference which took place in December (page 15). Back in October, Alison Bowes received a special visit from the King and Queen of Sweden who came to learn more about research on healthy ageing at the University of Stirling. Find out more on page 13. And finally, we meet some of the research team in our researcher spotlight, where we congratulate Dr Eren Dodd and Professor Sabu Padmadas on their recent Fellowship successes, and Seb Stannard discusses his PhD journey, see page 17. As always, I hope you enjoy finding out more about our research activities. If you have any questions or comments, please email Professor Jane Falkingham OBE CPC Director

June 2021 – December 2021 PRESENTED












3,755,791 WEBSITE HITS



Upcoming events: 31 January: Professor Sir Ian Diamond, UK National Statistician, will give a free public lecture on ‘How a National Statistics Institute responds to a pandemic’ in a CPC, University of Southampton and S3Ri event collaboration 17 February: CPC webinar with Peter Boden, Principal Consultant at Edge Analytics, on ‘Demographic change - the practical application of population forecasts to the planning process’ 24 February: CPC webinar with Anna Matysiak, Associate Professor, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, on ‘Home-based work and fertility based on UK Understanding Society data’ 31 March: CPC webinar with Sarah Amele, Research Associate, MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow 14 April: CPC webinar with Michael Thomas, Researcher in Social and Demographic Research at Statistics Norway 28 April: CPC webinar with Sophie Cranston, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Loughborough University 19 May: CPC webinar with Catherine Mercer, Professor of Sexual Health Science, UCL 26 May: CPC webinar with Helga de Valk, Director of the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Professor of Migration and the Life Course at the University of Groningen

For further details and full CPC events calendar, please visit To keep up-to-date with our latest news, events and publications, visit, follow us on Twitter @CPCpopulation and Facebook. For all the latest CPC news and comment, visit our ‘Centre for Population Change in the news’ page on!



ESRC awards £8.26m for new Connecting Generations research CPC Director, Professor Jane Falkingham OBE, is to lead one of six new ESRC research centres which will tackle critical social and economic issues.


rofessor Falkingham will lead on ‘Connecting Generations’, exploring how issues such as living standards, jobs and pay, housing costs, taxes and benefits, work-life balance, and caring responsibilities are affected by population and generational changes. Connecting Generations brings together experts from the University of Southampton, University

of St Andrews, University of Stirling, University of Oxford, and the Resolution Foundation, as well as the Office for National Statistics and National Records of Scotland. Its remit will cover inequality in people’s opportunities and experiences, examining the impacts of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic background, education, and geographical region, to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities.

Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic make the work of understanding existing inequalities, and foreseeing emerging inequalities, even more urgent. The team will work to understand the different impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit within and across generations, including how the ‘traditional’ stepping stones to adulthood have been affected by the pandemic. Professor Falkingham comments: “I am delighted to be leading the new Connecting Generations partnership, and I’m excited to work with colleagues on this important topic for understanding societal change. It is a career highlight for me to be working with this esteemed team of experts, and I am thankful to the ESRC for recognising the value of this collaboration. We will have the opportunity to examine inequalities in life experiences, and why this matters for improving our society. This funding will enable us to provide researchbased evidence to policymakers to address growing concerns around fairness between generations, particularly as we emerge from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.” In total, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is awarding a £49m boost to six new centres. These awards are being made following a highly competitive process run by the ESRC which was open to new research ideas from all areas of social science. ESRC research centres are major strategic investments which take forward an ambitious research agenda to deliver

real societal and economic impact. They also provide robust research evidence to support government decision making.

– Centre for ‘Sociodigital’ Futures, led by Professor Susan Halford, University of Bristol.

Based across the UK, the centres will be located at the universities of Bristol, Loughborough, Sheffield, Southampton, Sussex and York. Many will be working as part of larger collaborative teams, bringing in expertise and support from partners as well as other UK and international universities. The Centre for Care based at the University of Sheffield is also receiving £1.5m of additional co-funding through a partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The successful projects are:

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “Social science research is central to our efforts to build back better from the pandemic. The latest ESRC research centres will focus on some of the key societal issues to be addressed, such as social care, policing, inequalities between generations and the impact of digital technologies, and will help maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of social science research.”

– Connecting Generations, led by Professor Jane Falkingham, University of Southampton – The Centre for Care, led by Professor Sue Yeandle, University of Sheffield – The Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy, led by Professor L. Alan Winters and Professor Michael Gasiorek, University of Sussex – Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre, co-directed by Professor Charlie Lloyd and Professor Adam Crawford, University of York and University of Leeds – Centre for Early Mathematics Learning (CEML), led by Professor Camilla Gilmore, University of Loughborough

Professor Alison Park, interim executive chair of ESRC said: “We are delighted to announce the funding for these six centres, which demonstrate the excellence, breadth and relevance of social science research. They will all bring a fresh social science perspective on many issues of major public and policy interest and will provide robust research evidence that can be used by policymakers and practitioners. “Not only are research centres major strategic investments which have significant economic and societal impact, but they also add value by increasing research infrastructure, building capacity, encouraging interdisciplinary working and enabling research collaboration in the UK and internationally to bring about change.”

Connecting Generations research programme

Connecting Generations: Cohorts, kinship and genetics

Connecting Generations: Changing flows of support across the Iife course

Connecting Generations: Migration, mobility, communities and social cohesion

Intergenerational Audit - understanding changing living standards across cohorts

Transitions to adulthood and the buffering effect of intergenerational support

Migration connecting generations

Connecting Generations through genetics and genealogy

Reproductive strategies, families and intergenerational exchange

Social and spatial mobility within and across generations

Novel approaches to modelling kinship and quantifying the connections between generations

Work-life balance, employment and caring responsibilities in mid-life

Community resilience and social coherence

Connecting Generations across geography

Intergenerational flows of support in later life

Understanding changing intergenerational relationships in context: a regional case study

Understanding inequalities by gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic background, education, geographical region Understanding the differential impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit within and across generations Contributing to change; collaborating with users and identifying implications for policy and practice



Meet the Connecting Generations partners The existing CPC collaboration between the universities of Southampton, St Andrews and Stirling will continue, forming a new strategic partnership to study Connecting Generations with the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford, and the Intergenerational Centre of the Resolution Foundation. The Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science (LCDS) is led by Professor Melinda Mills. The Centre’s driving research question asks: How can we harvest and link classic and new types of data, alongside innovative approaches and methods to generate accurate, timely and effective demographic knowledge and predictions to resolve the most challenging demographic problems of our time? They work to develop new ideas within academia, industry and governments.

The Resolution Foundation’s Deputy Chief Executive, Mike Brewer, is Co-Director of Connecting Generations. The Resolution Foundation is an independent think-tank focused on improving the living standards of those on low-to-middle incomes. They work across a wide range of economic and social policy. The Foundation’s established work programme includes: incomes and inequality; jobs, skills and pay; housing, wealth and debt; tax and welfare; public finances and the economy. The Intergenerational Centre at the Resolution Foundation aims to understand what is driving intergenerational differences in living standards, and how they can be addressed. Part of the Connecting Generations research programme will be to co-produce future Resolution Foundation intergenerational audits.

Connecting Generations Co-Directors

The Stirling team is excited to be partners in the new research programme. Our work will focus on changing working practices, social care across the lifespan, intergenerational living and digital poverty and inclusion. All these issues are crucial for improving lives, locally, nationally and internationally.

I am really pleased that the Resolution Foundation is part of the new ESRC-funded research on Connecting Generations. We will be contributing to the research programme, particularly on young generations’ response to the pandemic, and we will be continuing our annual Intergenerational Audit.

Professor Alison Bowes

Mike Brewer

It is excellent that we get to join up in a strategic partnership as the Centre for Population Change, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and the Resolution Foundation to investigate Connecting Generations. I look forward to working with new, as well as established, colleagues on this exciting project.

We are very delighted to have the opportunity to work with world-leading researchers from Southampton, Stirling, Oxford, and the Resolution Foundation on the cutting-edge topic of population change and fairness between generations. We will contribute to research on intergenerational support within families and communities, and migration and social mobility using novel spatial and longitudinal data and methods.

Co-Director of Connecting Generations at the University of Stirling

Co-Director of Connecting Generations at the Resolution Foundation

Professor Maria Evandrou

Co-Director of Connecting Generations at the University of Southampton

Professor Hill Kulu Connecting Generations unites the top demography groups across the UK to look at intergenerational issues in a new way. The LCDS is delighted to join with our unique interdisciplinary and computational social science approach to explore intergenerational topics related to fertility, migration and assortative mating through the lens of genetics, genealogy and new forms of social media data. Professor Melinda Mills

Co-Director of Connecting Generations at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, University of Oxford

Co-Director of Connecting Generations at the University of St Andrews

Further reading £49m funding boost for urgent social and economic challenges (UKRI website) Connecting Generations research programme (CPC website)

Choosing between owning a home and becoming a parent In previous eras, people in the UK were more likely to become parents after they became homeowners. But a recent study has found that the likelihood of owning your own home and becoming a parent has fallen in recent years, with young people just as likely to become parents while living in private rented accommodation.


he findings of a recent study question the usual assumption that people will own their own home before becoming parents, and suggest that increased uncertainty around housing may be the cause. As a result of property becoming more unaffordable over time, homeownership rates, especially among younger people, have plummeted. The number of people living in private rented accommodation into their late twenties has increased. But private rental tenants have had, and continue to have, very few rights and are subject to upheavals and uncertainty. This may have traditionally put people off starting a family while living in rented accommodation.

mortgages being less accessible to those without substantial deposits, homeownership is a privilege for those who are wealthier, have inheritances, have dual incomes, and are confident in their employment (to be able to obtain and pay their mortgage). With this in mind, many of those who do manage to buy a home might then postpone or forego having children because the costs of homeownership compete with the costs of parenthood.

Because of this, the desire to own one’s own home remains strong across Britain and is often still seen as a preferred setting for parenthood. But with

To examine rates of first births between 1991 and 2016 in Britain, they used longitudinal data from 27 years of the British Household Panel Study (BSPS)

The research team was led by CPC’s Professor Ann Berrington, with Dr Valentina Tocchioni as lead author, and Professor Daniele Vignoli and Dr Agnese Vitali as co-authors.



Percentage in the private rental sector over time by age group, England.

Percent Private Renting

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017


Year 16 to 24

25to 34

and its successor, the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS). The sample consisted of 5,082 women born between 1948 and 1997 who were living independently from their parents in 374 Local Authority Districts (LADs) across Britain. The study’s main findings showed that the likelihood of becoming a mother while in owner-occupied accommodation has declined in recent years to the point that, from 2013, there is a clear change in the relationship between owning a home and becoming a parent: it becomes equally likely that a woman will become a mother while living in private rented accommodation. Up until 2012, the likelihood of conceiving a first child was significantly higher for homeowners compared with private tenants. The findings were the same even when the women’s socio-economic and demographic characteristics, including partnership status, education, employment status, income and parental social class, were taken into account. Although the data do not show the underlying reasons, the study team suggests that owning a home may now be in direct competition with the costs of having children. The majority of owneroccupied homes are purchased with a mortgage, and a higher proportion of income is now used to provide a deposit, service the debt, or to repay (at least partly) money loaned, for example, by parents. Homeownership is now more likely to require households to have a dual-income; buying a home encourages women to stay in the labour market. Homeowners might also now be a more select group because of more economic uncertainties in society. There is also more of a societal focus on career and material aspirations. Professor Berrington comments: “This disconnection between owning a home and becoming a parent has significant implications for parenthood in general. If it is the case, as we propose, that homeownership

35 to 44

45 to 54

55 to 64

is increasingly competing with the costs of having children, then it is likely that those who do manage to buy a home might well postpone or even forego having children. So the families that people may have planned to have will be unfulfilled for many young people now reaching the traditional parenthood ages.” She continues: “Policies need to recognise and address the large regional disparities in housing affordability, for example by improving housing availability and affordability in high cost areas, while encouraging job formation in areas of the country where housing is more affordable. “The private rental housing market in Britain remains un-family friendly, unregulated, and insecure. Housing uncertainty among private renters might arise from the threat of evictions, unregulated increases in rental prices, and the lack of rights around property maintenance and enhancement. What is particularly concerning for the parents of children in a private rental home is that moving house can require moving children from one school to another. With the rise in young people now more likely to be in private rental accommodation when they are of an age to start a family, it is vital that the government implements policies to improve the quality and security of private rented accommodation.” Dr Tocchioni is currently supported by European Research Council ‘Economic Uncertainty and Fertility in Europe’ project (PI Daniele Vignoli). Further reading Homeownership and the transition to parenthood (CPC Policy Briefing 63) The changing association between homeownership and the transition to parenthood (Demography)

Moving home during childhood: is it harmful? Dr Francesca Fiori reflects on discussions with representatives from the Scottish Government and third sector organisations on research evidence that children living in private rented accommodation and moving home frequently have lower levels of socio-emotional well-being.

In October 2021 my research team held a discussion on the issues of children’s housing and their experience of moving home, and how this relates to child well-being and cognitive development. It was based on my recent policy briefing ‘Moving home during childhood: is it harmful?’ which presented findings from my research project on the same topic. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of the Understanding Inequalities project, and by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. We were delighted to be joined by participants from the Scottish Government and organisations Parenting Across

Scotland, Save the Children and Shelter Scotland. Professor Cristina Iannelli, Chair of Education and Social Stratification at the University of Edinburgh, chaired the discussion. Who moves home, and why? Many families move home when they have young children. According to data from Growing Up in Scotland, on which my study is based, 54.5% of children moved at least once by age 10. Most parents cite housing or neighbourhood improvements as the main reason behind their move: a need for a larger house; a desire to raise children in safer and more family-friendly areas; or a preference for owned rather than rented accommodation.

Other parents report that their moves were the consequence of adverse circumstances, such as relationship breakups, evictions, or financial hardship. Although only a minority of parents reported negative reasons for a move, I suggested that there might be a tendency to under-report negative circumstances that triggered a move. Reflecting on their work with children and families experiencing residential mobility but also temporary housing and homelessness, the participants from third sector organisations agreed with this view. As a matter of fact, data reveal a clear social patterning in the likelihood of moving home during childhood, with children from more disadvantaged backgrounds (such as those born in lone-parent families, or from 08


Percent of children moving home in Scotland, by age. Source: Author’s elaboration of Growing Up in Scotland data, Sweeps 1-8.

Percentage of children moving home in Scotland, by selected family characteristics at birth. Source: Author’s elaboration of Growing Up in Scotland data, Sweeps 1-8.

25% All 20% First born 15%

PARENTAL EDUCATION High Medium Low FAMILY STRUCTURE Two parents Other configuration


HOUSING TENURE Home ownership Social rent Private rent


0% 1

















low-educated parents or living in rented accommodation) more likely to move, and to move more than once. Moving home: is it (always) harmful? My research highlighted that children who moved home during childhood report more emotional and conduct problems than children who stayed in the same residence. The difference is particularly pronounced between children who did not move and children who moved twice or more. Children who moved home also have lower vocabulary skills at age five, but not at age 10. I found this surprising given that moving home often implies a change of school which could impact on children’s learning. One participant suggested that a dynamic environment could be beneficial for language acquisition at this age. Children who move home and change school will meet more people and engage in different contexts, stretching their comfort zones which could in turn promote vocabulary learning. Professor Iannelli suggested that school might act as an equaliser at this age, sharing some preliminary findings from her research on the enabling factors improving the cognitive outcomes of children from disadvantaged social backgrounds. Children from disadvantaged family backgrounds Moving home, and doing so repeatedly, occurs more frequently to children from disadvantaged families. Thinking about the social, emotional and cognitive difficulties we observe in children who have moved, we discussed to what extent these difficulties happen because of the move itself or rather because of the consequence of a range of factors and circumstances prior to the move, such as financial difficulties or parental separation.

My research showed that parental socioeconomic status, unemployment and relationship break-up do indeed explain a large part of the differences between movers and non-movers.

professionals valuing and choosing the benefits of flexible tenure, to families with young children increasingly having no other choice due to expensive house prices and lack of social housing alternatives.

From a policy and practice perspective, participants manifested their desire to know more about housing insecurity among low-income families. For our understanding of the impact of moving home on children and their families, they argued that it is crucial that we differentiate between residential mobility as an active choice and residential mobility as an unintended event on which most of these families exert no power.

Improving housing choice for families in Scotland Scotland has devolved powers on housing and recognises the role it plays in determining quality of life. The country has undertaken a different course to other UK nations on housing affordability, homelessness, security of tenure and child poverty. The findings we shared, and the experiences of the third sector practitioners that joined the discussion, suggest, however, that more remains to be done to ensure that every family has access to affordable, secure and highquality housing. The next Housing Bill is an opportunity to take forward further reforms in the rented sector and increase the rights of tenants; and the Housing to 2040 strategy is the occasion to develop a long-term strategy to improve accessibility, affordability and standards across the whole rented sector, offering choice to meet people’s needs.”

Given the impact of residential instability on young children’s lives, it would also be beneficial to understand which other areas of their lives could be improved and stabilised to increase their ability to overcome the challenges associated with moving home. Growing up in private rented accommodation Lastly, findings from the project emphasised the importance of housing tenure: children who are born in rented accommodation are not only more likely to move during childhood, but also to report lower socio-emotional well-being and cognitive scores. Furthermore, repeated moves within the rental sector have a detrimental effect on children, over and above the effect of these children’s social and family background. All participants shared their concerns regarding the increasing proportion of children being born and growing up in the private rental sector. This, they reflected, is a consequence of a dramatic change in the characteristics of tenants in the private sector over the last 20 years: from young

With thanks to Jacqui Evans for her assistance on the project and in writing this meeting summary as part of the St Andrews Undergraduate Research Assistance Scheme. Further reading Moving home during childhood: is it harmful? (CPC Policy Briefing 65) Against all odds: Enabling factors in early childhood for cognitive outcomes (Understanding inequalities)

The Covid-19 crisis and children’s well-being The Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network (ICWBN), co-led by CPC member Dr Júlia Mikolai and her collaborator Dr Yekaterina Chzhen from Trinity College Dublin, held an online workshop in September 2021 to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on young people’s well-being.


hildren and young people’s health may have been less directly affected by Covid-19, but the indirect consequences of the pandemic are unprecedented, wide-ranging, and long-lasting. School closures, online learning, reduced time with friends, peers and teachers together with delayed access to healthcare have had a dramatic effect on children and their families with immediate, medium, and longterm implications. These must be completely understood if society is to prevent further long-term harm to them now and in the future. The Network’s first workshop brought together academic and non-academic experts working on children’s economic well-being, education, and mental health outcomes in the UK and Ireland. Key findings from the event are: – Families need better support and a greater say on what will help them thrive. – Covid-19 exposed weaknesses in the system and made the already difficult lives of vulnerable people harder. – Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and with Special Educational Needs (SEN) have been hit hardest, but children from all backgrounds need support. Dr Mikolai comments: “The pandemic created new problems and challenges especially for less advantaged families already hard hit by austerity, and for children with special needs or learning difficulties. It exposed weaknesses and inadequacies in government support systems which failed to acknowledge and incorporate the experiences of those in need of help. It exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in access to the resources that can help a child do better in school and revealed the

depth and extent of deprivation in certain areas. These effects are likely to have a long-lasting impact on their lives.” The Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network (ICWBN) was created to study the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The project aims to bring together academics and practitioners from the four nations of the UK and the Republic of Ireland to establish a network to study the economic and social impacts of the pandemic on children, and the associated policy responses, in the two countries and beyond. The ICWBN pools theories, evidence and methodological approaches from across the social sciences to study the medium- and longer-term consequences of the pandemic

for children’s living standards as well as their outcomes in health, cognitive- and socio-behavioural development, educational attainment and achievement, and subjective well-being. The ICWBN project is funded by the UK Research and InnovationEconomic and Social Research Council and the Irish Research Council under the ‘ESRC-IRC UK/ Ireland Networking Grants’. Further reading Covid-19 and children’s wellbeing (CPC Policy Briefing 67) Generation pandemic (ICWBN podcast coming soon)



A troubled year: Life satisfaction during the pandemic It will come as no surprise that mental well-being in the UK has declined during the coronavirus pandemic. Few studies, however, have examined which aspects of life satisfaction varied for different population groups during different waves of the pandemic. Here, we find out about research led by Dr Shih-Yi Chao which delves further into how different groups fared.


y comparing bi-monthly life satisfaction data collected in May 2020 to March 2021 with the same months in 2018-19, Dr Shih-Yi Chao, Professor Ann Berrington and Professor Brienna Perelli-Harris found that life satisfaction was consistently lower in 2020-21, and by March 2021 it still had not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Those who are usually the least happy – the lowest-educated, unpartnered, and people out of work - experienced the lowest life satisfaction during the pandemic. However, the more advantaged also became less happy. In January 2021, when deaths were increasing rapidly and the UK was in a strict lockdown, even those who were normally satisfied with their lives became less satisfied. Gender differences also widened in this period; in January 2021 the drop in life satisfaction for women was 3.5 times greater than for men. By March 2021, life satisfaction had still not completely recovered to prepandemic levels. To examine changes in life satisfaction the study team used the UK longitudinal household survey (UKHLS), a nationally representative survey, and its associated Covid-19 surveys. Wave 10 of the main survey was conducted between 2018 and 2019 and was used to understand what was going on before the pandemic. Each month of the wave 10 survey has responses from between 2,500-2,800 individuals. Individuals were asked “how satisfied are you currently with your life overall?” measured on a 7 point scale. The same life satisfaction question was asked in May 2020 as part of the Covid-19 survey and then every other month until March 2021. The Covid-19 surveys include between 11,000-14,000 respondents. Middle-aged people in stable households were more likely to respond to these

surveys, and while cross-sectional weights were applied, the surveys may not have captured low-income, disadvantaged individuals. This bias means that this study likely overestimates the overall level of life satisfaction, and the gap between 2018-19 and 2020-21 could be even larger than these findings suggest. On the findings, Dr Chao said: “Undoubtedly, 2020-21, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, was a troubled year for many people. Our study highlights the subjective well-being implications of the pandemic and lockdowns on society. During the crisis, characteristics such as having a partner that you live with, being employed and having a higher level of education may have offered protective effects on life satisfaction, widening socioeconomic differences.”

She added: “The most disadvantaged already had lower levels of life satisfaction pre-pandemic, but the pandemic widened these differences. People in these groups usually have fewer fallback options and resources to draw upon. It is vital for policymakers to recognise this disparity to ensure the most vulnerable are not left behind as we move out of the pandemic crisis.” Further reading A troubled year: Life satisfaction during the pandemic (CPC Policy Briefing 64)

Royal visit by King and Queen of Sweden The King and Queen of Sweden paid a royal visit to the University of Stirling in October to learn about its world-leading dementia research. Queen Silvia’s charity foundation Silviahemmet is supporting a major research project, led by CPC member Professor Alison Bowes, to develop housing innovations that can better support people living with cognitive conditions, such as dementia, to stay in their own homes for longer.


he project, Designing Homes for Healthy Cognitive Ageing (DesHCA), is funded by the ESRC under the Healthy Ageing Challenge Programme, and brings together Scotland’s leading experts on dementia and dementia design, the building industry, architects, housing providers and those living with dementia and their families, to create designs for future-proof housing which will meet the needs of the world’s ageing population. During a tour of the Dementia Services Development Centre’s Dementia-friendly Demonstration Suites – a permanent display of rooms and equipment adapted to support the particular needs of people living with dementia – the royal party learned of the history of the unique research facility. The royal family have an existing interest in dementia with Queen Silvia having founded the charity foundation Silviahemmet, which offers training programmes and care for those living with dementia and their families. Professor Alison Bowes, Principal Investigator for the DesHCA project, said: “It is an honour to host the King and Queen… and demonstrate the breadth and importance of the research carried out here. “Dementia is a condition which touches everyone. Approximately 10 million new cases are diagnosed every

year, and with populations ageing across the world, there’s a growing demand for new care technologies, new housing models and innovations to help people remain independent for longer. “Collaborations such as our project with Silviahemmet and our other partners, bring together research, industry and practice, to ensure these solutions are delivered and make a difference to people across the world.” University of Stirling Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, said: “We were delighted to welcome Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden to the University campus. This was an important opportunity to showcase the world-leading, transformative and lifechanging research led by the University and to acknowledge the King and Queen’s support for this work.” Further reading Developing innovative solutions to the challenges of ageing and dementia (Healthy Ageing in Scotland) King and Queen of Sweden visit the University of Stirling’s dementia centre (University of Stirling)



Does being a grandparent affect mental health? Approximately one billion people in the world’s population are grandparents, so understanding the complex impact of grandparenting on individuals’ health is important for planning the global strategy of active ageing. Here, we take a look at Dr Yazhen Yang’s research on how being a grandparent affects mental health, and how this differs across countries and cultures.


ealthy grandparenthood is of great importance in the context of rapid population ageing. With policy reforms to increase the pension age being implemented worldwide, the stress resulting from becoming a grandparent and caring for grandchildren whilst working could increase if people retire at an older age. The findings of this study show that becoming a grandparent can lessen the effect of depressive symptoms on grandparents in lower income countries. But in higher income countries, it can worsen depressive symptoms for grandparents. The effect of providing care for grandchildren on grandparents’ depression varied by country and how much care was being given. Dr Yazhen Yang, along with Professor Maria Evandrou and Professor Athina Vlachantoni, examined differences in the effect of grandparenting on older persons’ depression in England, Europe and China. Compared to other countries, people aged 50 or above in Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and England reported significantly lower depression scores. By contrast, people

in China, Italy, Spain, Estonia and France reported significantly higher depression scores compared to those in other countries. In all countries, women had higher depression scores than men. In countries with relatively lower incomes including China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Spain and Slovenia, transitioning to grandparenthood reduced the depression score among both men and women. For countries with relatively higher incomes, such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, France and England, becoming a grandparent increased the depression score among both men and women. The gender difference in the effect of becoming a grandparent on depression is also associated with the country’s income level; the difference between the predicted depression score for men and women is larger in lower income countries. While in higher income countries the gap between male and female depression scores is smaller. Therefore, gender is less important in predicted depression scores in higher income countries.

Becoming a grandparent decreases depression

Becoming a grandparent increases depression

China Czech Republic Estonia Italy Spain Slovenia

Denmark Netherlands Sweden Belgium France England

Dr Yang also investigated the importance of intensity of grandchild caring. The findings suggest that both intensive caring (more than 40 hours per week) and non-intensive caring (less than 40 hours per week) provide a protective effect for depression in grandparents. Both grandfathers and grandmothers benefited, but country matters; compared to grandfathers who did not provide any grandchild care, grandfathers who provided non-intensive care in China and Sweden were less likely to report depressive symptoms, as were grandfathers who provided a lot of care in Italy. In China, Denmark and Sweden, grandmothers who provided non-intensive care were less likely to report depressive symptoms compared to their counterparts who provided no care. In Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark grandmothers who provided intensive care were also less likely to have depressive symptoms. In conclusion, becoming a grandparent has a protective effect against depression among grandparents in relatively lower income countries such as China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Spain and Slovenia. By contrast, becoming a grandparent increases depressive symptoms in countries with relatively higher incomes, such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, France and England. Providing non-intensive grandchild care is beneficial for grandparents’ depressive symptoms in China and Sweden, whilst providing intensive grandchild care reduces the depressive symptoms among grandmothers in Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark. Dr Yang commented: “Policy decision makers need to be aware of the increasing importance of grandparents in providing childcare for their grandchildren. Family and other policies involving older people need to take into account the impact of grandparenting on grandparents’ health. Higher income countries in particular should investigate policy instruments that might buffer the negative impact of becoming a grandparent.” She continues: “Particular attention should be devoted to grandmothers, who are more likely than grandfathers to experience depression when becoming grandparents.”

Further reading

CPC at IPC2021 From 5-10 December, CPC members attended the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) International Population Conference (IPC2021).

The IPC is the world’s largest scientific conference on population and demography, bringing together researchers, policymakers and practitioners from a range of disciplines and from across the globe, to present and discuss the latest research on a broad range of contemporary population issues. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, IPC2021 was a completely virtual conference, hosted by the Indian Association for the Study of Population (IASP). The conference offered around-theclock sessions to enable participants from around the world to present new research and meet with colleagues. All sessions were also available as on-demand video recordings. On Wednesday 8 December, CPC Modelling Strand leader Jakub Bijak chaired a Research Leader session, sponsored by his QuantMig project and the University of Southampton. The session allowed participants to hear presentations on ‘Quantifying uncertain migration scenarios’ with presentations from QuantMig members. The MigrantLife project, led by CPC Co-Director Hill Kulu, also had a strong presence at the conference, as did CPC’s fertility and ageing experts. You can see all of our members’ contributions, with links to their abstracts on the CPC website. Full details of the conference are on the IUSSP website. With the support of the Australian Population Association, the next International Population Conference will be held in Brisbane in 2025.

Being a grandparent and depression: how does it differ across England, Europe and China? (CPC Policy Briefing 62) The impact of grandparenting on late-life depression in England, Europe and China (CPC webinar, YouTube)



CPC webinars We’ve been busy with the CPC webinar series, with nine webinars from our sites in Southampton and Scotland held since our last newsletter. Most of the webinars are now available to watch again on our YouTube channel, so do take a look if you missed out or would like to see the presentations again.

Maarten Bijlsma, University of Groningen and MPIDR Modelling the socio-economic determinants of fertility: a mediation analysis using the parametric g-formula Yazhen Yang, University of Southampton The impact of grandparenting on latelife depression in England, Europe and China Brienna Perelli-Harris, University of Southampton Understanding low subjective wellbeing among IDPs in Ukraine: current deprivation, loss of status, and trauma Tiziana Leone, London School of Economics Menarche: a global health indicator?

John Ermisch, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and Nuffield College, University of Oxford Adjusting non-representative survey data using external data: Analysis of demographic events from survey data José Manuel Aburto, University of Oxford Life expectancy changes during the pandemic in low mortality countries Sergi Vidal, Centre for Demographic Studies, Autonomous University of Barcelona Women’s family life courses after union dissolution: A comparative analysis

Afshin Zilanawala, University of Southampton Mothers’ nonstandard work schedules, economic hardship, and children’s development Elspeth Graham, University of St Andrews Reflections on the language of explanation in demography: Clarity or confusion?

Our upcoming webinars are listed on our events calendar, and you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates. And if you are unable to attend the live sessions, subscribe to our YouTube channel to be alerted when our new webinar videos become available.

Researcher spotlight Congratulations to CPC researcher, Dr Erengul Dodd, and CPC Associate, Professor Sabu Padmadas, who have received news of their appointments as Turing Fellow and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, respectively.


r Dodd is one of 30 academic colleagues from the University of Southampton who have been appointed as Turing Fellows from 1 October 2021. Turing Fellows are scholars with proven research excellence in data science, artificial intelligence, or a related field whose research would be significantly enhanced through active involvement with the Turing network of universities and partners.

Dr Dodd is Associate Professor of Actuarial Science in the School of Mathematical Sciences. She is also a member of the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, and works within the ‘Integrated demographic estimation and forecasting’ strand of CPC. On receiving this appointment, Dr Dodd said: “My research focuses on the application of statistical modelling, inference and prediction to actuarial, demographic and health data under model uncertainty. The Turing network brings leading researchers and non-academic partners together to work on practical problems relevant to my research area. Being able to work with these potential partners on challenging problems is not only very exciting but also gives me an opportunity to help policymakers make better decisions on matters related to my research.” Turing Institute Director and Chief Executive Adrian Smith said, “It gives me great pleasure to welcome this new group of Fellows. This cohort is incredibly multidisciplinary and diverse. They will bring a rich range of expertise and ensure we continue to do worldleading, impactful research.” Professor Mark Spearing, Vice President (Research and Enterprise), commented on the importance of Data Science and AI for the University of Southampton, saying “Almost all areas of our academic endeavour are being radically changed by the development of data science”.

As we enter towards an era dominated by the complex interactions between humans and machines, I believe social sciences research will play a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of sustainable societies and human behaviours.


abu Padmadas is Professor of Demography and Global Health at the University of Southampton. He has been conferred the award of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

The research interests of Professor Padmadas, who has been at Southampton since 2002, focus broadly on population dynamics and the application of demographic analysis and statistical modelling of global health and well-being outcomes in low-middle income and transition economies. On receiving news of the award, Professor Padmadas said: “I am truly delighted to receive this honour and recognition from the Academy of Social Sciences. I wholeheartedly dedicate this Fellowship to the University of Southampton, my wonderful colleagues and students at Social Statistics and Demography, our professional services, and exceptional researchers from across continents, who have supported and inspired me to grow intellectually and professionally over the last two decades. “I remain eternally grateful to have had the opportunities to lead several international research projects in Asia, Africa, MiddleEast and Latin America, and particularly research spanning over a decade of impact evaluation of a large-scale United Nations programme in China which transformed its official family planning policy, safeguarding the reproductive rights of women and couples. No books or Wikipedia can substitute the experience in China, as presumably, I have understood India, UK and the rest of the world a lot better. “Throughout this journey, I have realised the infinite potential and flexibility of demography and social statistics to beautifully integrate with other pertinent interdisciplinary areas within social, health, behavioural, environmental, business, engineering and life sciences. “This is also a momentous occasion, for me personally, as we enter a decade of celebrations of our popular undergraduate interdisciplinary global health curriculum within social sciences which continues to inspire and transform individual student careers, and the MSc in Global Health which attracts students from across disciplines and world regions. “As we enter towards an era dominated by the complex interactions between humans and machines, I believe social sciences research will play a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of sustainable societies and human behaviours.”

Professor Sabu Padmadas



PhD Spotlight Seb Stannard is a third year PhD student in Social Statistics and Demography at the University of Southampton funded by the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership. His research uses a British birth cohort study (the BCS70) to explore the pathways through which events in childhood may impact both health and demographic outcomes at midlife, paying particular attention to early life mediating pathways. His supervisors are Ann Berrington, Professor of Demography and Social Statistics and CPC Fertility and Family Strand Coordinator, and Nisreen Alwan, Associate Professor in Public Health, both at the University of Southampton. childhood and adulthood. My third paper is a short methodological paper, quantifying multipartner fertility defined as someone who has had biological children with more than one partner. My final paper explores the role of multi-partner fertility and age at first birth on hypertension and obesity risk at midlife.

Before starting my PhD, I completed both my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Criminology, and my masters in Social Research Methods at the University of Southampton. During the first year of my undergraduate degree I took an optional Demography module and quickly became interested in the subject. During my undergraduate studies I never actually planned on doing a PhD. I initially applied for the Demography Masters course but when I was asked about the potential of doing a PhD I felt it was an opportunity I could not turn down. My research interests involve exploring the life course - investigating how events in childhood may have long lasting impacts across a person’s life. My PhD follows a paper based approach. The first paper of my PhD investigates the intergeneration transmission of separation, paying particular attention to early life mediators. My second paper evaluates the association between parental separation and offspring hypertension risk at midlife, comparing and contrasting the relative effect of mediators in

As part of my PhD I have published my Master’s dissertation titled ‘Associations between birth order with mental well-being and psychological distress in midlife: Findings from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70)’ in PLOS ONE and I am currently addressing a revise and resubmit for the first two papers of my PhD. Away from the PhD I also conducted two internships. One with the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group based within the School of Health Science investigating what pre-treatment factors are associated with quality of life in women with gynaecological cancers at diagnosis and one year later. The second was a development award based within the school of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education. Here I worked on developing a multidisciplinary ecosystem to study life course determinants of complex mid-life multimorbidity using artificial intelligence (MELD). These internships have been really beneficial and enriching to my PhD. They have taught me how to collaborate with colleagues from a range of disciplines different from my own and have helped me to consider the research area I hope to stay in following my PhD. Being part of the CPC research group as a PhD student has helped me develop my research skills and broadened my knowledge through the CPC webinar series. Being a member of the Centre has also helped me interact and engage with academics outside my own institution and I have been supported in attending conferences and with authoring and disseminating publications.”

Further reading Associations between birth order with mental well-being and psychological distress in midlife: Findings from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) (PLOS ONE)

PhD congratulations Congratulations to PhD student Katie Heap on passing her PhD viva. Supervised by Professor Roger Ingham and Professor Ann Berrington, Katie’s thesis examined the changing determinants of teenage pregnancy in England.

New starters We welcomed Ariana Modirrousta-Galian as a Senior Research Assistant for the Bayesian AgentBased Population Studies (BAPS) project at the University of Southampton.

Sarah Christison joined the FertilityTrends project at the University of St Andrews.

Mary Abed Al Ahad has joined the University of St Andrews team as a Research Assistant. Her work focuses on the social and environmental determinants of Covid-19 mortality in Scotland.

Hebe Nicholson has joined the University of St Andrews as a Research Fellow, working in the CPC migration strand.



Keep in touch! To discover more about our work, visit the CPC website: To subscribe to the CPC newsletter and keep up-to-date with research activity, news and events, please register at: For our latest research updates you can also follow CPC on Twitter @CPCpopulation and find us on Facebook,! and YouTube T: +44 (0)23 8059 2579 E: Editors Becki Dey Teresa McGowan ESRC Centre for Population Change University of Southampton Image credits

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