Figures have revealed that Britain has one of the highest birth rate levels in Europe. Women in the UK now have an average of just under two children.
Just over 723,000 babies were born in England and Wales in 2010, up from fewer than 600,000 in 2000. The average number of children each woman is likely to have has increased from 1.64 to 1.98.
The main reason for the increase is immigration, with many migrants of child-bearing age, and with many from cultures where larger families are more common. The rising birth rate is also attributed to those born here in the 1960′s and 70′s having children later because they have been focusing on careers. Having children has for many also been delayed by the need for a couple to maintain two incomes to cover mortgage and other costs.
TOP 10 FERTILITY RATES (NUMBER OF CHILDREN FOR EACH WOMAN)
- Ireland 2.07
- France 2.03
- UK 1.98
- Sweden 1.98
- Denmark 1.87
- Finland 1.87
- Netherlands 1.79
- Estonia 1.63
- Luxembourg 1.63
- Slovenia 1.57
Other European countries where birthrates have fallen have accepted fewer numbers of migrants than Britain and have not so far shown the same resurgence in baby numbers among women who in recent years have been delaying childbirth.
The Office for National Statistics said this may be because of ‘Government policy and the economic climate indirectly influencing individuals’ decisions around childbearing and therefore affecting the number of births.’ However it added: ‘The combined effect of multiple government policies and the changing economic climate does not have a clear impact on fertility in a particular direction.’