The number of babies born in the UK has steadily risen over the last decade but is still lower than it was 50 years ago.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that the number of UK births fell from around 1,014,700 births in 1964 to 716,000 in 2004. Since then, however, the fertility rate has slightly increased. In 2013, there were 778,800 births in the country, although this was not as many as occurred in 2011 when around 807,800 babies were born.
The statistics also show that the birth rate in the European Union (EU) as a whole has also declined in the last five decades.
As with the UK, the high-point of the EU birth rate was in 1964 when there were approximately 7.8 million births across the continent. In 2013, there were just 5.1 million. Unlike the UK, the EU has not seen a slow rise in recent years. Since 1992, there have been between five and 5.9 million births each year.
Children born out of wedlock are on the rise in Europe, which the ONS reported was “consistent with the increase in the number of couples cohabiting rather than entering into marriage or civil partnerships”. In 2012, there were seven EU countries where such births were in the majority and the ONS has previously predicted that by 2016, that will also be true in the UK.
The ONS also compared how many babies were born to foreign mothers in each country and found that the UK had the seventh highest percentage behind Luxembourg, Cyprus, Austria, Belgium, Sweden and Ireland. Luxembourg was the only country in the EU where the majority of births in 2013 – 64.2 per cent – involved a foreign mother.
A summary of the ONS findings is available online here.