Lone mothers at time of birth: who are they? An exploration of their socioeconomic and household characteristics.

Lone mothers are at excess risk of poor pregnancy outcomes in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. The majority live in deprived areas, and a large proportion are teenage mothers. The aim of this project is to explore the socioeconomic and household characteristics of women who were “lone mothers” at the time of birth of their children. The objectives are:

  1. To compare the maternal, socioeconomic and household characteristics of births registered to the mother alone, to the mother and father at different addresses, to the mother and father at the same address and to married joint registrants.
  2. To delineate subcategories of “lone mothers” based on personal, socioeconomic and household characteristics and registration status.
  3. To determine the number and characteristics of sole registrants cohabiting with the father of the baby.
  4. To determine the number and characteristics of mothers who have multiple births as a sole registrant or joint registrant at different address.
  5. To investigate whether there are differences in low birthweight between different subcategories of lone mother.

Our population will be babies of less than one year at the time of the 2001 Census, in three groups: babies, mothers and fathers who are NILS members. In addition, NILS member mothers and fathers of babies in the year following the census will be included.



Casson, K., Dolk, H., Gray, A-M. and Gardner, E. (2011) ‘An exploratory analysis of the socio-demographic characteristics of married versus unmarried mothers‘ – presented at the Northern Ireland longitudinal Study Research Forum seminar session’ Attesting to the potential of the NILS: A series of presentations based on the projects jointly funded by the ESRCA and the R&D Office’, NISRA, 11th March 2011

Research Team: Helen Dolk, Evie Gardner and Karen Casson
Database: NILS
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): University of Ulster