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Birth rate, life expectancy still rising


newborn‘We’re seeing women having an additional birth later.’

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistic (ONS) and Public Health England reveal interesting changes in UK demographics.

The trend of an increasing birth rate continues, with ONS analysis revealing that the nation’s total fertility rate (TFR) is also increasing. The TFR is the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to in her lifetime.

So more women are having more children.

The birth rate for mothers in England and Wales is now 18 per cent higher than it was a decade ago.

And the population in Scotland has increased by five per cent since the 2001 census, the fastest growth rate between census years in the last 100 years.

While immigration is a contributor to the increase in birth rate, the continued trend towards later parenthood, via advancements in fertility treatments, is likely to be a much greater influence.

The ONS said that the TFR for UK-born women increased ‘substantially,’ from 1.56 in 2001 to 1.84 in 2011.

Oliver Dorman, senior research officer at the ONS, told The Independent: “More and more mothers are having children at an older age.

“We’re seeing the same number of births for women aged 25-35, [and] we’re seeing women having an additional birth later.

“These top-up rather than replace younger births.”

More births, and more births to older mothers – who are likely to have more complications – have put a strain on NHS midwives.

In its 2013 State of Maternity Services report, The Royal College of Midwives (RCN) said that 85 per cent more babies were born to women in England aged 40 or over in 2012 than had been in 2001.

And while the NHS was still experiencing a shortage in numbers of midwives, the shortage has fallen for the fourth year in a row.

Att he other end of the life-line, recent Public Health England (PHE) figures have revealed a shocking difference in life expectancy around the country.

The PHE found 57 districts where women are expected to live beyond the age of 90, but the life expectancy of women living in Bradford, West Yorkshire, is just 72.5 years.

The Northburn estate, part of the 1960s New Town development of Cramlington, in Northumberland, now has the highest life expectancy for women – 105 years if she lived there her whole life – with Basingstoke and Deane a close second with a life expectancy of 104.3 for women.

Male life expectancy generally continues to lag behind that of women, the highest figure for boys – at 97.7 years – being those born in Westminster.

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