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Ethnic differences in birth outcomes in England


  • Lorraine Dearden

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Bedford Group, Institute of Education, University of London)

  • Alice Mesnard

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Jonathan Shaw

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies)


This paper uses the Millennium Cohort Study to look at ethnic differences in birth outcomes for a cohort of English children born in 2000 and 2001. There is an increasingly large literature showing that longer gestation and higher birthweight are positively associated with cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes later in life, so understanding sources of ethnic differences in these outcomes and identifying factors that may influence birth outcomes has a lot of potential policy interest. This paper shows that even after controlling for background characteristics in a number of ways, there still remain unexplained differences in both gestation and birthweight outcomes across broad ethnic groups. It also suggests, however, that there may be potential policy levers that could be used to narrow this ethnic gap in birth outcomes, such as reducing the proportion of underweight Asian mothers and overweight Black mothers and increasing ethnic minority attendance at antenatal classes.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorraine Dearden & Alice Mesnard & Jonathan Shaw, 2006. "Ethnic differences in birth outcomes in England," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(1), pages 17-46, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:27:y:2006:i:1:p:17-46

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Dickerson & Gurleen K. Popli, 2016. "Persistent poverty and children's cognitive development: evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(2), pages 535-558, February.
    2. Nathalie Auger & Alison Park & Sam Harper, 2012. "Francophone and Anglophone perinatal health: temporal and regional inequalities in a Canadian setting, 1981–2008," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 57(6), pages 925-934, December.
    3. Ghouse, Ghulam & Zaid, Muhammad, 2016. "Determinants of Low Birth Weight a Cross Sectional Study: In Case of Pakistan," MPRA Paper 70660, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Gurleen Popli & Aki Tsuchiya, 2014. "Sons and Daughters: Parental Beliefs and Child Behaviour (Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study)," Working Papers 2014013, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior


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