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Birth Rates Drop across England


Births in England and Wales fell to their lowest level in two decades in 2022, official figures show.

The figure has been in freefall for a decade, apart from a blip during 2021 put down to a mini baby 'bounce' by couples who put their family plans on hold at the start of the Covid p(l)andemic.

Experts believe the trend is partly down to women focusing (wrongly led) on their education and careers and couples waiting to have children until later in life.

The UK's fragile economy and cost-of-living crisis is also putting people off having children, some believe, evidenced by abortion rates simultaneously spiking.

Other reasons floated for plummeting birth rates include free-er access to contraception and lower child mortality.

Tellingly, or not - perhaps it is just coincidence they feel the need to bring this up (!) the Daily Mail say:

"There is no evidence that Covid vaccines are to blame, with scientists insisting there is no proof they harm fertility."

The ONS data shows that there were 605,479 live births between the two nations in 2022 — 577,046 in England and 28,296 in Wales.

This marked the lowest number since 2002 and was 20,000 fewer than 2021.

James Tucker, the ONS' head of health analysis, said: 'The annual number of births in England and Wales continues its recent decline, with 2022 recording the lowest number of live births seen for two decades.'

Fewer than half of new mothers (48.6 per cent) were married or in a civil partnership when they gave birth in 2022 — the lowest number on record.

Single mothers overtook those in couples for the first time ever last year.

While births fell across the board among women in their twenties and thirties, teen births increased for the first time in nearly two decades.

Some 14,755 became mothers in 2022, up 7.4 per cent in a year.

Meanwhile, there were 2,433 stillbirths in 2022 — when a baby is born after 24 weeks but did not breathe or show signs of life.

The figure is down by 164 (6.3 per cent) from 2021. It means there was four stillbirths per 1,000 births — down from 4.1 in 2021 but higher than the 3.9 logged in 2019.

It comes as separate ONS figures published Thursday show that three in 10 newborns in England and Wales in 2022 had non-UK-born mothers — nearly twice as many as two decades ago.

Among these 183,309 babies, mothers were most likely to be from India, while fathers were most commonly from Pakistan.