This chapter reviews the circumstances of birth for babies born at the start of the 21st century. It outlines the initial conditions of life for this new generation. This chapter considers the family into which a new baby is born — in particular it looks at parents and their relationships, siblings and the wider kin. Then, it examines the ethnic identities and the religion of parents, and their own languages and national and cultural heritages. The health of parents is another important element of the ‘endowment set’ for cohort babies which may affect the extent to which parents can provide effective care for the baby. Finally, the chapter describes the housing conditions and neighbourhood context in which these families live.
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