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Children of the 21st century

Children of the 21st century: From birth to nine months

Shirley Dex
Heather Joshi
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  • Book Info
    Children of the 21st century
    Book Description:

    This book documents the early lives of almost 19,000 children born in the UK at the start of the 21st century, and their families. It is the first time that analysis of data from the hugely important Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal study following the progress of the children and their families, has been drawn together in a single volume. The unrivalled data is examined here to address important policy and scientific issues. The book is also the first in a series of publications that will report on the children's lives at different stages of their development. The fascinating range of findings presented here is strengthened by comparison with data on earlier generations. This has enabled the authors to assess the impact of a wide range of policies on the life courses of a new generation, including policies on child health, parenting, childcare and social exclusion. Babies of the new millennium (title tbc) is the product of an exciting collaboration from experts across a wide range of health and social science fields. The result is a unique and authoritative analysis of family life and early childhood in the UK that cuts across old disciplinary boundaries. It is essential reading for academics, students and researchers in the health and social sciences. It will also be a useful resource for policy makers and practitioners who are interested in childhood, child development, child poverty, child health, childcare and family policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-141-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of figures
    (pp. iv-vi)
  4. List of tables
    (pp. vii-ix)
  5. List of boxes
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xi)
  7. List of contributors
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  8. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)
    Shirley Dex, Heather Joshi, Kate Smith, Kelly Ward and Ian Plewis

    The initiation of a new cohort study of approximately 18,800 UK babies born in the Millennium provides the opportunity to reflect on the circumstances of children in Britain at the start of a new century. Britain has become world–renowned for its tracking of large–scale and representative cohorts of babies from birth, through the rest of their lives, producing unrivalled data sources for longitudinal research in social sciences and health. This book focuses on the information collected in this new Millennium Cohort Study of these babies covering the period from pregnancy through to nine months old. However, it also...

  9. TWO Children’s origins
    (pp. 25-70)
    Mel Bartley, Lisa Calderwood, Hiranthi Jayaweera, Ian Plewis and Kelly Ward

    When babies are born, they enter the world with a certain endowment. Some characteristics are inherited; others come from the particular environment into which the child arrives. There are relationships with the immediate family, parents and others living in the home, finances and housing, the wider kin network, the neighbourhood, the local and national economy and the social framework provided by national and devolved government. In this chapter, we set out to review these circumstances of birth for babies born at the start of the 21st century. These are the initial conditions of life for this new generation. Of course,...

  10. THREE Socioeconomic origins of parents and child poverty
    (pp. 71-108)
    Jonathan Bradshaw, Emese Mayhew, Shirley Dex, Heather Joshi and Kelly Ward

    Probably one of the single most important elements of a child’s origins that affect their development and subsequent life chances is the family’s economic circumstances. Clearly, these circumstances rest on a number of interlocking characteristics: their economic activity status; the socioeconomic classification of any employment; their qualification levels; the number of resident parents; and their health. These elements combine to identify whether families live in poverty or in plenty. Since 1997, the government has made the reduction of child poverty a central policy target. These Millennium Cohort children are directly in line to be the target for this set of...

  11. FOUR Pregnancy and childbirth
    (pp. 109-132)
    Hiranthi Jayaweera, Heather Joshi, Alison Macfarlane, Denise Hawkes and Neville Butler

    The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) collected information about pregnancy and delivery retrospectively at 9–10 months after the child’s birth. For this and other reasons, midwives and other clinical staff were not involved in the data collection, unlike the 1946, 1958 and 1970 cohort studies which started as birth surveys. This limited the potential for collecting reliable detailed information about topics such as complications in pregnancy and at delivery. Clearly, pregnancy and childbirth have got safer over time. In the 1946 birth cohort, 4.0% of babies died in the first week after birth, 3.3% in the 1958 cohort and 2.4%...

  12. FIVE Children’s health
    (pp. 133-158)
    Carol Dezateux, Lucy Foster, Rosemary Tate, Suzanne Walton, Lamiya Samad, Helen Bedford, Suzanne Bartington, Catherine Peckham, Tim Cole and Neville Butler

    Children in the UK are growing up against a background of changing family size and structure as well as changing demographic, economic and societal circumstances, which together have important implications for their health (Peckham, 1998). It is important to understand how the changes in patterns of caring for children and family context influence health in early childhood and the adoption of child health promoting behaviours by parents and carers. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the contribution of these changes to obesity, asthma and related allergic diseases, autoimmune conditions, and disorders of social communication and behaviour (Gent...

  13. SIX Children’s development in the family environment
    (pp. 159-174)
    Ingrid Schoon, Amanda Sacker, Steven Hope, Stephen Collishaw and Barbara Maughan

    The first year of life is increasingly regarded as a ‘critical’ stage of a child’s development and of emerging family relationships (Carnegie, 1994). The most frequently studied early indicators of child development include biological factors such as illness at birth, low birthweight and physical disability. In this chapter, we focus on indicators of early child development as measured by developmental delays in gross motor and fine motor development, as well as the development of communicative gestures. The questions used to identify milestones in these domains of development are set out in Table 6.1. Gross motor skills include sitting up, standing...

  14. SEVEN Parenthood and parenting
    (pp. 175-206)
    Lisa Calderwood, Kathleen Kiernan, Heather Joshi, Kate Smith and Kelly Ward

    Learning to be responsible and involved with one’s child is a new experience for parents of a first child. We can explore something of what this is like for the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) parents, both mothers and fathers, as well as the impact of a new baby on families who already have children. The data provide some direct evidence from mothers and fathers about their involvement with their new baby and in family life, uniquely, for a very large sample of UK fathers.

    In this chapter, we first examine the effect of the baby. The spotlight is then turned...

  15. EIGHT Parents’ employment and childcare
    (pp. 207-236)
    Shirley Dex, Denise Hawkes, Heather Joshi and Kelly Ward

    Since 1980, there have been very large increases in labour force participation among mothers with pre–school children, doubling over 20 years. In 1980,27% of mothers with a child under 5 were employed (Martin and Roberts, 1984, Table 2.6, p 13), compared with 54% in 2001 (Labour Market Trends,2003, p 505). Many mothers work part time when children are young, but there have also been more mothers working full time at this stage. There has not been a corresponding decrease in fathers’ participation rates or hours of work. Fathers’ contributions to childcare have increased a little, but are still far...

  16. NINE Conclusion
    (pp. 237-252)
    Shirley Dex and Heather Joshi

    In what has been an unprecedented time in the UK for family policy initiatives and developments, it has been useful, and perhaps not entirely coincidental, that a new large–scale longitudinal survey of babies was launched. In starting the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) of 18,819 babies, we were following in well–worn footsteps of earlier generations, this being the fourth nation–wide birth cohort study launched in the UK. However, in other ways, new pathways were being charted in this survey that were very clearly in tune with and driven by millennium policy issues on families and children. This volume...

  17. References
    (pp. 253-270)
  18. Index
    (pp. 271-281)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 282-282)