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UK fertility rate hits record low, economy threatened

Since time immemorial, women have been bearing fewer offspring, according to data released by the government today.

Based on data from the Office for National Statistics, the fertility rate in England and Wales declined to an average of 1.49 children in 2022.

This figure, the lowest since records began in 1938, highlights the severity of the ongoing baby crisis, posing a severe threat to the economy.

Not a single authority among the more than 330 in both nations has a fertility rate exceeding the “replacement level.”

The imminent danger of underpopulation has alarmed specialists worldwide.

Prominent demographers warn that the United Kingdom’s population may continue to age, thereby increasing the strain on the National Health Service (NHS) and social care, and impeding economic expansion.

Professor Christiaan Monden, an authority on demography and sociology at the University of Oxford, remarked, “It is a gradual buildup.”

“It is cause for concern if this continues for an extended period of time,” he stated to The Telegraph, “Our ageing population will be affected negatively.”

Fertility Rates Fall to Historic Low

According to ONS data, there were 605,479 live births between the two countries in 2022: 577,046 in England and 28,433 in Wales.

In contrast, the fertility rate, an alternative metric of births, declined from 1.55 in 2021.

It indicates that rates have decreased by nearly half since peaking at just under 3 during the baby boom of the mid-1960s.

The ONS reported that fertility rates declined across the board and for all age groups, except for women under the age of 20.

The declining fertility rate has been stagnant for a decade, except for a brief surge in 2021 attributed to couples who postponed their family plans in anticipation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Experts speculate that the trend is partly due to couples delaying parenthood until later in life and women devoting more time to their careers and education.

The fragile economy and cost-of-living crisis in the United Kingdom are also believed to discourage individuals from having children, as indicated by the concurrent surge in abortion rates.

Others raise concerns about the environment, with some individuals apprehensive that having a child will increase their carbon footprint or that the child’s future will be dismal due to climate change.

Scientists insist there is no evidence that Covid vaccines are detrimental to fertility.

Elon Musk, the eccentric Tesla entrepreneur, has been a vocal advocate for years regarding the peril of “underpopulation.”

He stated in 2017 that the global population is “accelerating towards collapse, but nobody seems to notice or care.”

To maintain population stability, nations must achieve a replacement level fertility rate of 2.1.

However, fertility rates in the industrialized world have declined significantly below this level for the past century.

Since the early 1970s, the average fertility rate in the United Kingdom has remained below 2.1.

Every single governing body in England and Wales has a rate below 2.

At 1.98, Barking and Dagenham have the highest rate.

Migration does not account for fertility replacement, which means that a country’s total population may increase despite a decline in fertility rates.

More older women are becoming mothers than ever before, according to the data. The number of births among those aged 40 and older increased from 17,336 in 2002 to 31,228 in 2022.

But despite the fact that the proportion of older mothers has increased dramatically over the past few decades, physicians generally advise against delaying parenthood.

Age increases the risk of complications, including stillbirths, and diminishes fertility.

It is estimated that women in their late forties have a one in twenty chance of achieving a natural pregnancy due to their reduced egg count, which compromises their fertility.

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