The following news story appeared in Essentially MIDIRS, vol 3, no 11, December 2012, p24.
The average mother is 29.9 years old and has 1.93 children…The highest number of births – since the start of the century – was recorded in England and Wales in the first part of 2011, according to the latest population figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS 2012). The fertility rate is now at 1.93 children per woman and has risen from its lowest level in 2001 in all age groups, except for women under the age of 20. It is reported that the number of babies born to mothers aged 40 and above, however, has increased by more than four times since 1981. The average age of a mother has not changed since the previous report and remains at 29.9 years old.
The overall mortality rate for the entire population of England and Wales is at the lowest ever recorded. The infant mortality rate has fallen by 60% in the last thirty years, but a slight increase from 4.3 deaths per thousand live births in the previous year to 4.4 per thousand was reported. The highest regional infant mortality rate in England (six deaths per 1000 live births) was recorded in the West Midlands and the lowest, 3.5 deaths per 1000 live births, was found in the south east of england. The rate for Wales was 3.9 deaths per 1000 live births. The regional differences in the infant mortality rate were attributed to the mother’s socioeconomic status, age, and country of birth.
Whilst the ONS report (ONS 2012) shows a sizable increase in the overall population, a report commissioned by UNICEF UK (
The authors called for more funding to be given to breastfeeding support and said, ‘…the findings signal a need for society to debate infant feeding more widely; its economic consequences, its role in child health, child development, maternal health, family life and relationships’ (Renfrew et al 2012:15).
Office of National Statistics (2012). Annual mid-year population estimates for England and Wales, mid 2011. Newport: ONS. http://tinyurl.com/bnuylsr [Accessed 1 November 2012].
Renfrew MJ, Pokhrel S, Quigley M et al (2012). Preventing disease and saving resources: the potential contribution of increasing breasteeding rates in the UK. London: UNICEF UK.
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