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Britain’s Declining Birth Rate Due to Rising Cost of Living

by Violet Dawson
0 comment

Today, almost every continent has a growing age-dependency ratio as average birth rates fall and people live longer

Many reasons that have led to a sharp fall in the birth of children each woman. From the climate crisis, crumbling public services to declining mental health in young people are the main reasons for the declining birth rates. 

There are many women whose age for child bearing has witnessed a long-term decline across parts of the world like Europe, parts of Asia, the US and South America. The scenarios got worse when there was a steep drop in the number of women and couples who are able to and want to have a child. 

Today, almost every continent has a growing age-dependency ratio as average birth rates fall and people live longer. If the global population hits 10.4 billion in the 2080s as predicted, it will only be because sub-Saharan Africa has continued on its current trend, pushing the population across the African continent from about 1.5 billion to as many as 2.5 billion. Paris-based organizations warned the rich countries to prepare for a low-fertility future. 

OECD said that the falling birth rates can lead to an overall fall in the world’s population by the next decade. For the first time in at least half a century there are warnings that the deaths could outnumber the number of births taking place. 

How the UK is affected

New figures show that UK births have reduced to half since 1960, mirroring a broader trend across the world’s wealthiest economies. As a growing number of women avoided parenthood it led to Britain’s falling birth rate. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the birth rate in the UK and Wales has dropped to 1.49 children per woman in 2022. 

This stands below the mark which is required to maintain a country’s population level. An analysis shows that 106,696 babies were born in London in the year 2022 as per the figures published by the ONS. According to the OECD, the UK’s birth rate has seen a 20.5% fall over the last decade, the most of any G7 country.

The number of babies being born have fallen by a fifth in the last decade in London. The experts warn the people of the rising cost of living and the increased house prices. This has led to more people delaying or avoiding the idea of having children. 

Fertility rate fell by 30% during the same 10 year period in London which is based on birth rates across all age groups. This dramatic decline makes London the region with the lowest fertility rate in the whole of England. With the overall figure 14% lower than the West Midlands and 9% lower than the North West. 

There are many families leaving London and relocating due to high living costs and hence the decline in birth rates as well. The families have raised concerns that more schools would be forced to close or lay off instructors. There are many reasons behind London’s babies declining but one of the main reasons could be the high prices of housing and childcare. There are some families moving out to cut some costs. 

At the same time the cost of private fertility treatment in the city is also one of the reasons why the people avoid the idea of having babies. Fertility Mapper released a report that the cost for IVF is recorded to be the highest in London when compared to other cities. 

A single cycle cost an average of  £6,150, with Leeds at £4,820 and Manchester at £4,764. The IVF treatment in London is 29% more than in Manchester and 28% more than in Leeds. It is said that the people wishing to have children in London are less likely to access IVF on the NHS compared with other regions, according to separate analysis.

The research shows that more than half of the women who went through abortion agreed that the high cost of raising a child influenced their decision. Without affordable childcare, women are pushed to quit their jobs or reduce their hours to afford to have a child. People will be priced out of becoming parents if action is not taken, and the economy cannot bear the cost.

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