03 August 2019

Births in England and Wales: 2018 and historical perspective

The following, in italics, is from a 1 August press release by the (UK) Office of National Statistics (ONS).

There were 657,076 live births in England and Wales in 2018, a decrease of 3.2% since 2017 and a 9.9% decrease since the most recent peak in 2012.

The total fertility rate (TFR is how many children the average woman would have if she experienced that year’s ‘age-specific’ fertility rates throughout her life) decreased from 1.76 to 1.70 children per woman in 2018; this is lower than all previous years except 1977 and 1999 to 2002.

For perspective, the graph incorporates historic TFR data from The Demography of Victorian England and Wales, by Robert Woods with the recent ONS data.
In Canada, the TFR in 2017 (the latest year available) was 1.50 children per woman.

The crude birth rate decreased from 11.6 to 11.1 live births per 1,000 total population in 2018; this is the lowest rate since records began in 1938.

Fertility rates decreased in all age groups except for women aged 40 years and over, where the rate remained at 16.1 births per 1,000 women of this age.

The proportion of live births to non-UK born mothers fell for the first time since 1990, from 28.4% to 28.2%.

The stillbirth rate reached a record low for the second year running in 2018, with 4.1 stillbirths per 1,000 total births.

For additional historical perspective read The motherhood revolution: how the great fertility decline affected the lives of women from History Extra.

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