Birth rates fluctuate significantly. Between 1993 and 2002 the annual number of births fell, but the number has been rising since. Between now and 2032, the number of live births is projected to fluctuate between 680,000 and 730,000 births per year (1).
The rise in birth rates after 2003 reflected a rise in the fertility rate of mothers born in the UK and the higher fertility rates in mothers born outside the UK. The fertility rate for mothers born in the UK rose from 1.69 in 2004 to 1.90 in 2011; for mothers born outside the UK the rate fell from 2.50 in 2004 and 2.29 in 2011, but is still significantly higher than for women born in the UK (1).
There are significant regional variations. In the north east the number of live births is set to decrease by 11 per cent from 2012 to 2032 (31,200 to 27,900); in London over the same period the number of live births is set to increase by 5 per cent (134,900 to 141,800) (1).
The percentage of childless women is expected to remain around 17 per cent (1).
Number of live births, England and Wales, and England only; 1920-2032
Sources: Office for National Statistics (2011). Statistical Bulletin. National population projections, 2010-based projections and Office for National Statistics (2011). Report. Households and families, Social Trends 41
Conception rates for older mothers
Current trends show conception rates for older mothers increasing. Between 1990 and 2010, conception rates have doubled in women over 40, nearly doubled in women aged between 35 and 39, and increased by nearly 50 per cent in women aged 30 to 34.
Relative changes in age-specific conception rates, 1990-2010
Source: Office for National Statistics (2012). Statistical Bulletin. Conceptions in England and Wales 2010
- Office for National Statistics (2012). Report. Births in England and Wales by Parents' Country of Birth, 2011