The ONS report, which was released on Wednesday, found that fertility rates declined for all age groups in England and Wales, with the exception of women over the age of 40, who saw the rate of births increase to 16.5 per 1,000 women.
The total fertility rate (TFR) for England and Wales
decreased from 1.7 children per woman in 2018 to 1.65 children per woman in 2019, which is lower than all recorded years except 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Fertility rates are determined by calculating the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime. A fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is required to maintain a country’s population.
The report also
found that over a quarter of all live births (28.7 per cent) were to women born outside the United Kingdom, the highest percentage since 1969. The country with the highest number of women giving birth in the UK was Poland with 16,737 births, barely edging out Pakistani women, who recorded 16,320 births last year. (Table 1)
Pakistan also represented the highest number of fathers born outside the country, with 17,519 Pakistani men siring children in the UK last year. (Table 2A)
As a whole, there was a 2.5 per cent drop in live births in England and Wales in 2019 from the previous year, and a 12.2 per cent decrease since 2012 — the most recent peak in births in the UK.
In response to the report, author, homemaker, and traditional family advocate Alena Kate Pettitt told Breitbart London: “It is unsurprising that fewer British women are choosing to have children. Not only is it increasingly hard to afford their upbringing and childcare if required, but even owning or renting a home fit for a family is becoming difficult for many.”
“Property developers easily get permission to build ever-smaller housing in tighter spaces making home life feel like nothing but a pit-stop between work hours — meanwhile traditional housing stock is divided into flats to suit our ever-growing population,” Pettitt lamented.
“But the biggest culprit is modern media. With its agenda to glorify the childless working woman — giving no airtime to happy larger families — and to only celebrate a woman’s achievements outside of home and hearth. It is no wonder younger generations are looking to careers and social media-fuelled materialism to fulfil desires when family life looks so utterly unappealing financially and it not worth their time. The family is unrecognised in 2020, regardless of economic depression,” she concluded.
The precipitous fall in births in recent decades has come as immigration to the United Kingdom has surged, seeing the population actually experience strong growth despite the number of new children being born at home dwindling. This disconnect was noted by London-based pressure group Migration Watch UK, whose spokesman told Breitbart London that: “we are repeatedly told that we need migration to keep things running, all the while we’re having fewer and fewer children. If we are so adamant for population increase, let’s start at home.”
The figures were not met with caution by all, however. The
Metro freesheet newspaper reported the remarks of Clare Murphy, a spokesman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service — an abortion clinic — who called the low number of births a “story of success.”
She said: “The increasing age of motherhood is a reflection of improved gender parity, especially greater female participation in both higher education and the workplace”, and predicted financial stability due to coronavirus would likely see the number of births fall further, as couples deferred having a family even further.
The ONS itself suggested that the United Kingdom’s declining fertility rate may be a result of improved access to contraception, a reduced mortality rate for children under the age of 5, which would result in women having fewer children, and difficulties in conceiving children because more women are delaying having children until later in life.
Since the 1970s, British governments have placed an increasing emphasis on women entering the workforce. Women now
represent the majority of new entrants into the British economy, which has had a significant impact on the marriage, birth, and fertility rates in the country.
The government also hinders families through its taxation policy, which levies taxes on individual earnings rather than families as a whole. This means that families who are dependent on a single middle-class income of GBP50,000 will take home less money than two salaries of GBP25,000.
The government could, if it wanted to, decide to give traditional families a boost by making tax allowances transferable, but has not done so. Such families are also denied access to marriage allowances, which are preserved for lower-income earners. Millions of women are forced into situations where, given the choice, they would rather provide for their family at home but they are compelled to provide at an employer instead.
There are other ways to approach the family, however. Directly opposed to the British model is Hungary, which has seen marriage rates increase by nearly 100 per cent over the previous year and an
increase of 9.4 per cent in the birth rate.
Last year, conservative Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban
introduced a series of pro-family policies, which included policies specifically aimed at supporting women. One such policy eliminated taxes for women who have given birth to four or more children for life.
The Hungarian government also introduced loans for women under the age of 40 who married for the first time. The loan would be completely forgiven if the family bore at least three children.
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka