COVID’s lockdown restrictions in March 2020 did not lead to a baby boom – and the total fertility rate in England and Wales for 2021 could end up being the lowest on record, data from the ONS.
Fertility rates for December 2020 and January 2021 showed “relatively large declines” from the equivalent month of the previous year, down 8.1% and 10.2% respectively, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Live births during these months would have been primarily conceived in the weeks following the first coronavirus the lockdown came into effect.
However, the couples got busy when the restrictions were lifted during the summer months.
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The figures show a 1.7% year-on-year increase in the fertility rate for March 2021 – which “results mainly in live births conceived when the lockdown restrictions began to be relaxed in the summer of 2020,” said the ONS.
The total fertility rate is the average number of living children a group of women would have if they had age-specific fertility rates throughout their fertile life – and could end up being the lowest on record this year. .
According to ONS data, for the first three months of this year, the rate for 2021 is estimated at 1.53 children per woman.
This is down from 1.92 children per woman in 2011.
Data also shows that live births in England and Wales in 2020 fell for the fifth year in a row.
There were a total of 615,557 live births, down 4% from 2019 – and a 16% drop from the recent peak of 730,883 births in 2012.
There were 2,429 stillbirths last year, the equivalent of 3.9 per 1,000 births, the ONS said, down slightly from 2,596 and 4.0 in 2019.
The stillbirth rate for January 2021 was 4.7 – the highest of all calendar months since March 2018.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-24 10:11:00