Analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study sweeps 1 and 2

February 2006 to May 2006

There has been much interest in mothers and fathers combining work and care in the light of more recent changes in the entitlements of parents over childbirth and subsequently. Research on parents has been increasing not least from funders targeting this area of research. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has carried out a number of projects on mothers and fathers examining. These projects have, amongst other things, focussed on parents’ use of and attitudes towards leave arrangements when they have young children, and the role of fathers and a secondary analysis of two linked datasets to determine if there are distinct household types in terms of their demography and attitudes that behave differently in relation to maternity and paternity leave. An analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) data offers the potential to complement the EOC’s other research and at the same time offer more detail on the experiences from its larger sample of fathers and its over-representation of parents of minority ethnic identity in comparison with white parents.

Project aims

The aims of the study are to conduct a secondary analysis of the MCS from both a gendered and ethnicity perspective to: 

  • Explore life history data of parents to the point of the second interview.
  • Examine the relationship between leave arrangements around the birth, subsequent employment and caring arrangements for different types of household.
  • Investigate child development and health data in relation to parental characteristics, employment and leave/caring arrangements.
  • Analyse data that is available relating to absent parents.
  • Investigate all the above from an ethnicity perspective focussing in particular on parents of Indian,  Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African identity.



Ward, K. and Dex, S. (forthcoming November 2006) Parental care and employment in early childhood: analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) sweeps 1 and 2, Research Report, Manchester: Equal Opportunities Commission.

Project Team:

Professor Shirley Dex, CLS, IOE

Kirstine Hansen , CLS, IOE

Kelly Ward, CLS, IOE