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  • Project contributors: Kulu H, Berrington A, Bijak J, Dodd E, Falkingham J,

    This Project is linked to the following Strand/s:

    Fertility and Family


    The last two decades have witnessed dramatic fluctuations in fertility levels, which was not predicted by demographers or government statisticians. Fertility significantly increased in the first decade of the 21st century and declined thereafter. These fluctuations have significant implications for planning and policy making, at both national and local levels.

    The causes of the recent fertility dynamics are unclear and complex. Some researchers attribute the recent fluctuations in fertility levels to changes in fertility timing i.e. the postponement or acceleration of childbearing. Others emphasise the importance of changes in population composition or changes in childbearing behaviour in response to past policy changes and the post-2008 economic recession.

    Childbearing is naturally a sequential process; decisions on having an additional child are likely to be evaluated on the basis of experience with previous children. Using census-linked administrative data from the ONS Longitudinal Study, Scottish Longitudinal Study, and Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study, together with survey data from the Understanding Society study, this project carries out a detailed analysis of fertility by parity (birth order) to improve future forecasts of fertility.
    The project brings together researchers from the Universities of St Andrews and Southampton, as well as government statisticians from ONS, NRS, and NISRA. The project will greatly improve our understanding of the factors associated with changing fertility in the UK and will improve the methodology used for fertility forecasts for the UK and its constituent countries. A better understanding of the present childbearing trends and forecast of the future developments will be critical to inform the planning of demand for various public services such as nurseries, school places and housing.


    Birthrate in England and Wales at all-time low Guardian, The. 2019
    Article on low birthrates in England and Wales: "The birthrate in England and Wales has hit its lowest level since records began, government statistics have shown.". Quotes Ann Berrington.