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Births in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

In 2020, there were over 681 thousand live births in the United Kingdom. The birth rate in the UK has generally decreased since 1960, as is the case in most developed nations, so that in 2019 it was 10.7 per 1,000 population. This has resulted in the average children per mother being 1.65 in 2019. Since 1990 the multiple birth rate in England and Wales has increased from 11.6 per 1,000 pregnancies to a rate of 14.4, meaning that the number of twins, triplets or more has been increasing.

In England and Wales the most common age for a mother giving birth was between 30 and 34 in 2019. The last 30 years has seen a decrease in women having a child under the age of 24 and an increase in women over the age of 35 doing so. Since 2013, the number of women over the age of 40 having children has surpassed the number of teenage mothers. The teenage birth rate in Northern Ireland has decreased in recent years also, dropping from 15.52 per 1,000 women in the period 2008-2010 to 9.46 per 1,000 during 2015-2017. The rate of teenage childbirths in England was 6 times higher in the most deprived decile compared to the least deprived.

The rate of spontaneous labors in England has decreased from almost 69 percent in 2005/06 to 47 percent in 2020/21, while in the same period the number of caesarean sections has gone up, from 10.7 percent to 18.3 percent. In 2020/21 spontaneous deliveries in Scotland accounted for 52 percent of births at NHS hospitals.

The share of women smoking during pregnancy has been dropping in England, amounting to 9.1 percent of pregnant women in 2021/22. The age group that has the highest prevalence of smoking during pregnancy is those aged under 20, with over 28 percent of pregnant women smoking in the period 2020/21. The pattern is similar in Scotland, with the share falling from 26.6 percent in 2000 to 13 percent in 2021. As in England though,the highest proportion of smokers is found in those aged under 20, with approximately 32 percent doing so.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 24 most important statistics relating to "Births in the UK".

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