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England’s baby bust revealed: Timelapse maps shows how birth rates have plummeted in last decade… but 2021 saw an uptick in older mothers

  • There were just under 625,000 babies born in England and Wale in 2021, up 2% on the figure the year before 
  • The latest year ‘remains in line’ with the long-term trend of falling live births since before the Covid pandemic
  • The number of births per woman hit an all-time low in 2020, with birthrates falling at pace since 2012 

Fascinating timelapse maps show how the birthrate in England and Wales has plummeted over the last decade, despite a small uptick last year caused by an uptick in older mothers.

Based on the latest Office for National Statistics data, they reveal how women had an average of 1.61 children in 2021, slightly higher than the 1.58 in 2020.

The slight increase in births last year was driven mainly by a jump in women in their early 30s having children, who had 1.07 babies born per women, up from 1.03 the year before.  

The sharpest increase was seen in women aged 35 to 39 (5 per cent). For comparison, women aged 20 and under saw a fall of 16 per cent.

Experts believe the increase in older women giving birth is driven by them increasingly leaving it until later in life to have children to pursue careers, lansoprazole que es while medical advances — including in IVF — has also allowed for it.

Despite projections of a baby boom during the first year of the pandemic as couples were forced to spend more time together indoors, the birthrate sank to its lowest level.

Families were thought to have been put off due to fears about the impact of the virus on the economy and their ability to access medical facilities while pregnant.

Despite the slight year-on-year rise, the birthrate for 2021 ‘remains in line’ with the long-term trend of falling births since before the Covid pandemic, statisticians said.

For comparison, it stood at 1.94 in 2012, and peaked at 2.93 in 1964 at the tail end of the Baby Boomers generation.

The long-term decline has been attributed to an ageing population alongside women leaving having children until later in life. 

Global health scientists and tech mogul Elon Musk have sounded the alarm about an ‘underpopulation crisis’ across the world, with falling birth rates occurring in most countries in the West as well as Japan.

They fear society will end up with ‘more grandparents than grandchildren’, with too few people in the workplace to support the elderly. 

Enter your town or borough in the module below to see how its birth rate has changed over the last 10 years:






Fascinating timelapse maps today showed how England and Wales’s birthrates have plummeted over the last decade. Maps show: Birth rates in local authorities across England and Wales from 2012 to 2021. Key: More than two births (dark blue), 1.8 to two births (blue), 1.6 to 1.8 births (green) and less than 1.6 births (light green)

The number of births per woman hit an all-time low in the first year of the pandemic, with birthrates falling at pace since 2012, when around 730,000 children were born

The slight increase in births last year was driven mainly by women in their 30s, with women aged 35 to 39 (light green) seeing the sharpest increase at around 5 per cent. Women aged 20 and under saw a fall of 16 per cent

Today’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also showed the number of stillbirths increased 9 per cent to around 2,600 last year

He’s known for a bonkers rant or two on Twitter. But Elon Musk’s latest doomsday warnings about population collapse are grounded in science.

While most scientists are concerned about the overpopulation of Earth, the eccentric Tesla billionaire believes the opposite scenario poses the biggest global threat to humans. 

Musk, who boasts of ‘always banging the baby drum’, has been warning about a decline in births for years. But his concerns recently resurfaced after bombshell court documents claimed that the 51-year-old fathered twins with an executive at his neurotechnology company Neuralink. 

Joking about the fact that he reportedly now has nine known children with three different women, Musk tweeted that he was ‘doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis’.  

Last month, a report by the United Nations revealed the world’s population will hit 8billion by November, fuelled by rapid growth in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.

Latest figures show England and Wales’s total fertility rate increased for the first time it has risen since 2012, although it is still lower than every other year on record. 

This is the average number of children a woman would would have if fertility rates in 2021 were applied throughout their life.

The ONS figures are based on birth registrations, and delays mean some births in 2021 may not be covered. 

It follows provisional data, based on NHS births notifications data, published by the ONS in March.

Within the overall increase in fertility, rates fell among younger groups and rose in older women.

Fertility rates increased across all regions of England in 2021, except for London and the West Midlands.

The number of older mothers has soared in recent decades, as more women concentrate on their career and start families later.

But doctors tend to warn women not to leave it too late to have children. They stress that with age fertility drops and their risk of complications, including stillbirths, increases.

Experts estimate women in their late forties have as little as a one in 20 chance of becoming pregnant because of their lower supply of eggs, which are less capable of being fertilised.

The British Fertility Society previously warned celebrities who have children in their 40s are giving women false hope about late motherhood.

Demand for donor eggs, one of the most common methods for older women to have a baby, have soared in recent years.

Other options include IVF, if the woman still has some of her own eggs, or even intrauterine insemination – when sperm is directly placed into the uterus using a catheter. Fertility drugs and surgery are two other possibilities.

Today’s ONS figures also show there were 2,597 stillbirths in 2021, an increase of 226 from 2020.

Of the total number of live births in 2021, 445,055 were to UK-born women, 179,726 were to non-UK-born women, and in 47 births the country of the mother was not stated.

The percentage of live births to non-UK-born women decreased to 28.8 per cent in 2021 from 29.3 per cent in 2020.

What are some of the risks of having a baby later in life? 

The number of older mothers has soared in recent decades, as more women concentrate on their career and start families later.

But doctors tend to warn women not to leave it too late to have children. They stress that with age fertility drops and their risk of complications, including stillbirths, increases.

Experts estimate women in their late forties have as little as a one in 20 chance of becoming pregnant because of their lower supply of eggs, which are less capable of being fertilised.

The British Fertility Society previously warned celebrities who have children in their 40s are giving women false hope about late motherhood.

Chairman Adam Balen said celebrities who paraded ‘miracle babies’ will often have used IVF or donor eggs, both of which can cost thousands of pounds.

Because they do not make this public, their fans fail to realise the fertility issues and health problems that may result.

Demand for donor eggs, one of the most common methods for older women to have a baby, have soared in recent years. 

Other options include IVF, if the woman still has some of her own eggs, or even intrauterine insemination – when sperm is directly placed into the uterus using a catheter. 

Fertility drugs and surgery are two other possibilities.

This was similar to the percentage in 2019 and the result of a higher number of UK-born women giving birth.

Romania became the most common country of birth for non-UK-born mothers in 2021, while Pakistan remained the most common country of birth for non-UK-born fathers.

A report by the United Nations last month revealed the world’s population will hit 8billion by November, fuelled by rapid growth in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.

But birth rates in developed nations have been plummeting for years, which has dragged down the overall rate. The average women had two-and-a-half children by 2020, compared to five 50 years ago. 

Rates are even lower in the UK (1.74) and US (1.77). Higher levels of education and contraception and more women entering the workplace are thought to be behind the concerning trends. 

The ‘underpopulation crisis’, as it has been dubbed in corners of the scientific community, could see too few younger people to work, pay tax and look after the elderly.

The world’s richest man Mr Musk, one of the founders of PayPal, has been warning of population decline for years. 

In 2017, he said that the number of people on Earth is ‘accelerating towards collapse but few seem to notice or care’.

Last year he warned that civilisation is ‘going to crumble’ if people don’t have more children. 

And Musk last month described himself as ‘always banging the baby drum’, warning that once the birth rate starts to fall ‘it accelerates’.

He has pointed to a downturn in Japan’s population as evidence for his concerns, claiming the nation would ‘flat-out disappear’ if the worrying trend continues. And Musk warned Italy ‘will have no people’ if its low birth rate continues.

An often-cited Lancet study claimed that dozens of countries — including Japan, Spain and Portugal — are set to see their population half by 2100. Washington University academics, behind the calculations, warned that nations should ready themselves to adapt to the changing population structures.

In a conversation with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley last month, Musk said: ‘A lot of people are under the impression that the current number of humans is unsustainable on the planet.

‘That is totally untrue. The population density is actually quite low.’

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