Population Matters statement on ONS UK national fertility figures

ONS release:

Births in England and Wales – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

The new Office for National Statistics release shows that the fertility rate in England and Wales is currently at 1.49, the lowest it has ever been.

Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns and Communications at Population Matters, said:

“Anyone panicking over this number is wasting energy. The fertility rate is a simple number to understand, which is why the baby bust alarmists focus on it, but the actual situation is complex. Fretting over a number ignores the potential benefits of lower population, from house prices to nature and school places to carbon emissions.

Nor does this number tell us the whole picture on demography. For a start, ONS has just this year projected the UK population hitting 70 million people in two years time – Britain is not running out of people. Second, a recent decline obviously doesn’t mean fertility rates are spiralling to zero. In fact, the UN projects UK fertility rates picking up over the next few decades. 

A changing age structure represents a societal evolution that is both inevitable and the kind of thing that politics and policy are there to deal with. More health care for old people needs to be balanced against fewer places needed for school children. 

Low fertility rates are not going away, and our job is to embrace the benefits and rise to the challenges, which a wealthy country like the UK is more than capable of doing.”

-ends- 

CONTACT

Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns and Communications

E: alistair.currie@populationmatters.org

T: 0204 552 5131 (24hrs)

NOTES

Population Matters is a UK-based charity working globally to achieve a sustainable future for people and planet. Our mission is to drive positive, large-scale action through fostering choices that help achieve a sustainable human population and regenerate our environment.

populationmatters.org UK charity number: 1114109

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