New figures released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics show that 24% of babies born in the UK last year (2011) were born to women who were born outside the UK.
The ONS said that ‘the increase in the proportion of foreign births to non-UK born mothers living in the UK illustrates how the demographic make-up of the UK is changing.’
It added that understanding the patterns of childbearing among migrant populations was ‘essential for planning services such as maternity provision and schools’.
The figures show that in London, where most immigrants live, 57% of children were born to non-UK born mothers. The five countries from where the most mothers came were
• Poland, (from where 23,000 mothers came)
• Pakistan (19,000)
• India (15,500)
• Bangladesh (8,500)
• Nigeria (8,000)
The ONS found that the number of births to UK born mothers remained virtually static between 2007 and 2011. In 2007, there were 603,000 births to UK-born mothers compared to 612,000 in 2011.
However, the number of children born to non-UK born mothers rose by 16% from 169,000 to 196,000. Part of this is explained by the numbers of UK-born and non-UK born women living in the UK. Between 2007 and 2011 there has been a 24% rise in the number of women of child-bearing age living in the UK whereas the number of such UK born women has actually fallen by 5%.
The survey found that fertility rates are much higher among non-UK born than among UK-born populations. The general fertility rate measures the annual number of live births per 1,000 women of childbearing age (often taken to be from 15 to 49 years old. That figure is 60 for UK born women. The figure is nearly 150 for Pakistani-born women and nearly 140 for Nigerian born women. For Bangladeshi-born women the figure is around 110, for Indian-born women around 95 and for Polish-born women around 90.
The survey found that, on average, foreign born mothers have 2.28 children each while UK born mothers have only 1.89 children.