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Total fertility rate of the United Kingdom 1800-2020

The fertility rate of a country is the average number of children that women from that country would have throughout their reproductive years. In the United Kingdom in 1800, the average woman of childbearing age would have five children over the course of their lifetime. Over the next 35 years the fertility rate was quite sporadic, rising to over 5.5 in the 1810s and 1820s, then dropping to 4.9 by 1835. This was during and after the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 with the US, which was a time of increased industrialization, economic depression and high unemployment after the war. As things became more stable, and the 'Pax Britannica' (a period of relative, international peace and economic prosperity for the British Empire) came into full effect, the fertility rate plateaued until 1880, before dropping gradually until the First World War. The fertility rate then jumped from 2.6 to 3.1 children per woman between 1915 and 1920, as many men returned from the war. It then resumed it's previous trajectory in the interwar years, before increasing yet again after the war (albeit, for a much longer time than after WWI), in what is known as the 'Baby Boom'. Like the US, the Baby Boom lasted until around 1980, where it then fell to 1.7 children per woman, and it has remained around this number (between 1.66 and 1.87) since then.

Total fertility rate in the United Kingdom from 1800 to 2020*

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Release date

June 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

*All data given is an average of the preceding five year period.

Source for data from1800-1950 can be found here.

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